BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Sabres have suffered through plenty of bad breaks and bad luck through a 14-29-10 season, and Tuesday's loss was a prime example of both. The Sabres gave up three goals in regulation -- one of which was an own-goal from Ryan O'Reilly whose clearing attempt richocheted in off Robin Lehner's stick, and one that was a rebound off of Lehner's leg.
"You get caught thinking a bit more, it seems like the bad bounces happen," says O'Reilly. "I don't know why it is. You tighten up. I think that explains us at home right now."
The Sabres have just six home wins, and a 6-15-4 record at home (including a "home" game for the Winter Classic).
"I think if we're working hard and playing the right way, and doing the right things, you'll eventually get your bounces," says Jordan Nolan, who saw plenty of good luck while winning two Stanley Cups with the Kings. "Sometimes, it seems like, for a few games, you won't get your bounces. Usually the hockey gods work out a little bit. But if you're not playing the right way, it's not going to work out for you."
Head Coach Phil Housley had a simple explanation for the Sabres misfortune; the Ducks created their own luck by playing aggressively and keeping the puck in the Buffalo zone.
"You look at the Anaheim goals, they had players going to the net," he says. "That's what we need to do more of. I preach that all the time. First off, we need to have a shot mentality. We gotta have net-front presence."
The Ducks loss was another reminder of the Sabres awful play in overtime. The Blue and Gold have lost 10 of 13 games that were tied after regulation. Nolan says there's less margin of error because of the 3-on-3 aspect of overtime.
"If you miss your chance, chances are the other team's coming back with a 2-on-1," he says. "That's the way it is. When a team has full possession, you have full possession, and someone gives you half a foot to work with, there's a lot of skilled players in this league and they're going to take advantage of that."
The Sabres need a win against the Islanders Thursday to avoid going 0-5 during their five-game homestand.