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Apocalypse Now and Then: Sabres 4, Blackhawks 3

An ugly loss on Saturday night in Buffalo.

Chicago Blackhawks v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks probably had their worst night of the young season on Saturday in western New York, blowing a 3-1 lead en route to a 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

It was a weird start in an overall weird game, as Victor Olofsson scored a goal early in the first, had it overturned after video review determined the play was offsides, then scored another goal to give the Sabres an early 1-0 lead with a power-play tally.

About four minutes later, a mad scramble in front of the Buffalo net ended with a goal that was initially credited to MacKenzie Entwistle but later given to Jason Dickinson:

The game was tied at one after one before Sam Lafferty fired home a rebound at the 4:49 mark of the second:

About 90 seconds later, Taylor Raddysh scored to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead despite Chicago not having much control over the flow of play at this point:

That trend continued into the third, as Buffalo had a 23-3 advantage in shot attempts and a 13-3 advantage in shots on goal during 14:57 of 5-on-5 play in the third. The result? A pair of goals for Tage Thompson, which forced overtime. The second goal from Thompson was a nifty swing at a puck in mid-air that connected:

A bad Jonathan Toews penalty late in the third carried into that overtime period and Olofsson ended the game with his second power-play tally of the night:

Notes

  • Easily the most disappointing result of the Blackhawks first eight games this season. Buffalo has a healthy amount of young talent but it’s far from a proven commodity. Still, the Sabres owned the back half of this game, making Chicago’s 3-1 lead slowly disappear.
  • Let’s get to a positive: Arvid Soderblom was very good in this one. He did not have too many stellar moments when forced into action last season, but the young Swedish netminder was solid this evening. He’s an interesting foil for Alex Stalock’s highwire act, as Soderblom plays a more solid, steady style that relies on being in the right position at the right time to make the save. It worked quite well against the Sabres and this game may have been a lopsided loss were it not for his efforts. He faced FORTY-FIVE freaking shots in this game, stopping 41.
  • Teams are always going to press when trailing by a goal or two in the third period but the degree to which Buffalo dominated the final period was disheartening. Won’t be something to harp on, though, as long as it remains an exception to the rule.
  • The one good piece of news related to those struggles in the back half of the game is that they seemed to stem from the Blackhawks throwing the puck away all over the ice, which is something that can be corrected in a fairly easy matter. Again, not much cause for concern yet. Just a real annoying way to lose a game.
  • All the shorthanded goals scored by the Hawks were fun in the first few weeks but the penalty kill has surrendered five goals in the last two games. That can’t happen.
  • The Toews’ penalty which led to the GWG is unacceptable, but his line with Raddysh and Philipp Kurashev was Chicago’s best. It had advantages of 9-2 in shot attempts, 8-2 in shots on goal, 6-1 in scoring chances, 4-1 in high-danger chances and scored one goal without allowing one. It also started in the offensive zone just 37.5 percent of the time, so it’s not like the minutes were sheltered. More of that line, please. Also, just gonna leave this tweet here, which came right after Raddysh’s goal:

#PlayKurashevMore, dammit!

  • A rebound performance against Minnesota on Sunday night will make this one easy to forget. The Wild played (and lost) in Detroit on Saturday night, so neither team will have the advantage of rest.

Game Charts

Three Stars

  1. Tage Thompson (BUF) — 2 goals, 1 assist
  2. Victor Olofsson (BUF) — 2 goals
  3. Arvid Soderblom (CHI) — 41 saves on 45 shots (.911 SV%)

What’s next?

The Blackhawks are back at the United Center on Sunday night to host the Minnesota Wild for another 6 p.m. start.