Friday, October 31, 2014

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The importance of stopping the slide

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In a shortened NHL season, there is no time for extended slides. After three straight losses, the Sabres (2-3-0) find themselves at a crossroads, needing to end their losing streak quickly for fear of losing ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race. There's no doubt, it's still early. Even the defending champs have had their early struggles. The Kings are 1-2-1.

It's also worth noting that the Devils started 0-3-1 in the shortened 1995 season before winning the Stanley Cup. But it goes without saying that a slide even close to what the Sabres had last January and February would end their chances before they began. There's simply no time to make up significant ground.

A couple positives coming out of Sunday's loss. The Sabres needed to get that second line going. And although Marcus Foligno, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford didn't play together - they all did hit the score sheet. Ennis and Foligno notched goals, while Stafford picked up his first assist.

A couple big questions with the team. What's going on with Tyler Myers? He was held under 19 minutes of ice time. That was fourth among Sabres defensemen, as his early struggles appear to be continuing.

And what will the Sabres do with Mikhail Grigorenko? His five game tryout is up. The Sabres can either keep him and burn the first year of his entry-level contract, or return him to juniors. He saw his most ice time, over 17 minutes on Sunday and had two shots on goal. But he is still scoreless in the NHL.

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