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Luukkonen, Lyubushkin, Tuch & Dahlin

Jeff Skinner Buffalo Sabres

Give the Buffalo Sabres credit. The team worked hard to bounce back from a 10-4 beat down by the Dallas Stars on Thursday. They played well but simply could not beat the New York Rangers and goalie Igor Shesterkin. The game went to overtime, with the Rangers gaining a tough 2-1 overtime win over the Sabres on Saturday night.

Shesterkin was the Rangers’ hero in Saturday’s game. The Sabres pushed hard, but he stole the game by making 32 saves to force the extra period. Artemi Panarin scored the game-winning power-play goal just over two minutes into overtime. Patrick Kane also scored his second goal in four games for his new team.

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Jeff Skinner scored for the Sabres. He is now better than a point-a-game player, with 29 goals and 37 assists (for 66 points) in 62 games played on the season.

Jeff Skinner, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It was another tough loss. The Sabres have now lost five of their last seven games. While they were close not long ago, they find themselves slipping out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

Item One: Tough Loss for Sabres’ Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen started at home Saturday against the Rangers. He came into the game with a 15-10-2 record, a 3.61 goals-against average (GAA), and a .893 save percentage (SV%) in the 27 games he had played this season. However, he had allowed at least three goals in each of his last four outings.

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He played much better Saturday night and lost a tough game to the Rangers. Despite stopping 24 shots, Luukkonen couldn’t stop the Rangers from scoring the game-winner in overtime. The loss adds to his recent struggles. He’s only won two games since the beginning of February. On the season, his record moved to 15-10-3, with a 3.54 GAA and .894 SV%.

With Eric Comrie sidelined due to a lower-body injury, Luukkonen will likely split the workload in net with veteran Craig Anderson for the remainder of the season. Anderson, by far, has the best goalie numbers for Buffalo.

Item Two: Ilya Lyubushkin Records an Assist in Saturday’s Low-Scoring Game

Ilya Lyubushkin registered an assist in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Rangers. He set up Skinner’s goal with a nice cross-ice pass midway through the second period. That goal gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead, but they couldn’t hold…

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