Tale of the Tape
Record: Pittsburgh (16-9-1) vs Buffalo (6-15-4)
xGF%: Pittsburgh (48.75%) vs Buffalo (47.58%)
5v5 Goals: Pittsburgh (57) vs Buffalo (34)
Leading Scorer: Crosby (25 points) vs Reinhart (19 points)
Injury Updates…Not good news
At their morning availability the Sabres and coach Ralph Krueger announced that Dylan Cozens would miss tonight’s game and is considered day-to-day but the bigger news was Jack Eichel being out for “the foreseeable future.”
Ralph Krueger says Jack Eichel is out for the “foreseeable future.”— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) March 13, 2021
Wouldn’t put a time table on it. #Sabres
Others have reported that Eichel’s injury should have him out around eight weeks, which would be just before the Sabres season finale.
8 weeks from today would leave 1 game remaining in the regular season https://t.co/Ijl3UMQgvi— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) March 13, 2021
It’s all but likely that Eichel has played his last game this season and will begin rehabbing and preparing for a (hopefully much better) 2021-22 season.
Rochester Quarantine limits the Sabres roster changes
While the Sabres are out two of their top center options, it’s hard to imagine any immediate reinforcements from the minors because the Amerks are going through some Covid protocols right now and their players aren’t available to the Sabres.
Krueger confirms the Amerks are quarantining and those players obviously aren’t available to the Sabres right now. https://t.co/Lo6WEWdzpg— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) March 12, 2021
This isn’t ideal for the team because with Eichel out and the season all but flushed, it would be a perfect time to give a guy like Arttu Ruotsalainen or other young centers a shot at the NHL to see if they’re ready to be apart of this team going forward.
Goaltending woes are evident
Carter Hutton getting the start tonight for the Sabres, and while the organization has said that goaltending isn’t an issue there’s no more arguing against the fact that Ullmark is the only capable NHL goalie on the roster.
Hutton’s season numbers aren’t anything to look at, he’s got a .883% save % and a 3.40 GAA. His underlying numbers are even worse, he sports a .879% 5v5 save % and a .761 HDSV%… and Johansson hasn’t been any better.
With their two of their top players out the Sabres are going to need more steady performances in net and given their two options right now… it seems like it is a lot to ask right now.
The Sabres are at a point where they’ve lost nine in a row and the end doesn’t really seem to be in sight. Until they can actually break this streak, it seems like a foolish move to predict them to win (especially given the injuries to Eichel and Cozens).