The Buffalo Sabres aren't playing to the expectations placed upon them prior to the season. Their loss on Sunday night to the Nashville Predators marked their third in a row. Furthermore, it was their eighth defeat in their last 11 games. After their latest loss, forward Dylan Cozens spoke out about their struggles.
In particular, there is one worrying trend the Sabres forward addressed. Over their last five games, Buffalo has chased games from the very first period. In fact, they've been outscored 11-1 in the opening frame during that span. Obviously, something has to change.
“I feel like right now, it’s like it’s two different teams out there,” said Cozens, via Buffalo Hockey Beat. “We play a completely different way when we’re down and that’s how we need to play right off the bat.”
Buffalo found themselves down once again in the first period on Sunday. Filip Forsberg and Yakov Trenin scored to give Nashville a 2-0 lead. Victor Olafsson put the Sabres on the board in the second thanks to a penalty shot. However, Buffalo couldn't find the equalizer in the third.
Cozens had his fair share of chances during this game. In fact, he and Jeff Skinner tied for the highest amount of shots against Nashville on Sunday with seven each. Things just didn't break their way.
Overall, Buffalo has to turn in a complete performance. Chasing games inherently leaves you at a disadvantage. Cozens understands that, and recognizes that it begins with the way they play out of the gate.
“We need to play like we’re desperate right off the bat before we get down two goals because it’s tough to come back from that,” the Sabres forward said, via Buffalo Hockey Beat. “We’ve been doing that a lot lately, getting down early. We just need to have better starts.”