Sabers send Canucks to 6th straight season opener loss

Boos rained down on the Vancouver Canucks as they left the rink on Saturday.

Hopes were high for the team’s first home game of the season, but with just minutes to go and the Buffalo Sabers in place, three jerseys were thrown on the ice and more in the disgruntled crowd expressed their displeasure with mockery.

« It was my first time getting involved in this, » head coach Bruce Boudreau said after the Sabers handed the Canucks a 5-1 loss.

« And obviously I hope the players feel the same as me, it’s just totally embarrassing. It’s something you never want to see. »

Vancouver (0-4-2) has now lost six straight and is the only team yet to record a win this season in the NHL.

WATCH | Olofsson extends Sabers lead:

Canucks remain winless with loss to Sabers

Vancouver suffers its sixth straight loss to start the season as they fall to Buffalo 5-1.

« The reaction from the fans has been fair, » Canucks winger Conor Garland said.

« We haven’t won a hockey game yet. But we are working, » he said. « We just have to be a lot better and we just have to put on a full game… We have confidence in this group. We are a very good hockey team. We just need to win games and start here. It was just tough. »

Buffalo (4-1-0) extended its winning streak to three in a row.

« Team confidence is high, » said Rasmus Dahlin, who scored a goal and an assist in the win.

« I think it starts with hard work and we really deserve that confidence that we have right now, » he said. « We play away games but we play them really, really well and we’re really starting to find our game. »

Victor Olofsson had two goals and an assist, while Alex Tuch and Zemgus Girgensons also scored for the Sabres. Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Asplund each provided a pair of assists.

Garland had the only score for the Canucks.

« We were under a good barrage in the second »

Vancouver’s Thatcher Demko blocked 21 of 27 shots and Craig Anderson made 29 saves for Buffalo.

Vancouver fired Demko for an extra forward with less than four minutes left and Girgensons fired an easy shot into the gaping net at 16:31.

Fifty seconds later, Olofsson beat the Canucks goaltender to score his second goal of the game.

The Sabers regained a two-goal advantage 1:54 into the third on a two-on-one.

Mittelstadt sliced ​​a pass into the slot and Olofsson fired a shot past Demko to make it 3-1.

« We were under a good barrage in the second and [Anderson] and our group of defensemen, I think they played really well,” Sabers coach Don Granato said. “And the third, we had to come back to our game a little more. We were able to do it early and [Mittelstadt] and [Olofsson] teamed up and it was a really big moment for us. »

Less than 30 seconds earlier, Vinnie Hinostroza briefly appeared to bolster Buffalo’s lead. The goal light behind the Canucks net came on after the veteran forward’s shot hit both posts and bounced, but video review showed the puck never crossed the line.

Vancouver came on the board midway through the second with a scorer on the power play after Dahlin was called for tripping.

Posted in the Sabers net, Tanner Pearson sent a blind, spinning backhand pass to Garland and the winger fired a wrist shot past Anderson from the low hash mark.

The goal cut the home side’s deficit to 2-1 and Garland celebrated with a huge fist pump.

Vancouver went 1-for-4 on man advantage Saturday while Buffalo was 1-for-1.

Samuelsson gets injured

The Sabers lost a defender about three minutes into the second period after Mattias Samuelsson hit Curtis Lazar along the end boards.

Samuelsson fell awkwardly after contact and lay on the ice, grabbing his right knee before a trainer came out to help him onto the bench. He went straight to the Buffalo locker room and didn’t come back.

A defensive slip-up proved costly for the Canucks late in the first.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson fed the puck into the slot and Tuch was there to pick it up and shoot an underarm shot at Demko to give the Sabers a 2-0 lead at 15:18.

Buffalo opened the scoring with an early power-play goal after Tyler Myers was called off for tripping Tage Thompson.

Dahlin fired a shot from inside the blue line and the puck hit Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson in the high slot before passing Demko after 5:35 of play.

The first pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Dahlin has scored five straight games and is the first-ever Sabers defenseman to accomplish this feat.


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