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Sabres endure second shutout loss of Western trip

LOS ANGELES -- On one key sequence in the third period, Evander Kane raised his arms once, twice, and still the puck wasn't in the net. It was that kind of night for the Buffalo Sabres here Saturday.

You don't score, you can't win and the Sabres were left frustrated in a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Buffalo scored just three goals on its three-game Western road trip, all coming in Friday's win in San Jose. Its two games in Southern California, against the Kings and Anaheim Ducks, were both shutouts.

Tanner Pearson scored both goals for the Kings, one in the second period and the other with 6:02 left in the third to keep the Sabres at bay. Buffalo has been shut out three straight times at Staples, all by 2-0 scores, and hasn't scored in the building in more than 198 minutes of hockey dating to 2010.

"We had opportunities to tie the game and we didn't," Kane said. "We didn't give up very much but we didn't generate enough to score. We played tight checking teams who don't give you a whole lot."

The Sabres' best chance to tie came midway through the third period as former Buffalo goaltender Jhonas Enroth stopped Sam Reinhart and then Kane failed to get home the rebound as the puck deflected off a prone Enroth's chest and rolled wide of the net.

"I celebrated twice on that," Kane said. "I thought 'Rino' had scored and then it came to me and it got right through Enroth, right underneath him . Somehow I didn't go in the net. I was baffled by it."

In two games against the Sabres this season, Enroth went 1-0-1 with an 0.97 goals-against average and .962 save percentage.

"It was a special game for me," Enroth said. "It's always nice to get a shutout but against your former team, that's a great feeling."

The Sabres were again baffled by their power play, which went 0 for 3 and managed just three shots.

"We haven't been able to establish any presence with the power play, right from the faceoff to our entries, to our possession," said coach Dan Bylsma. That's been a big factor, it's been a draining factor for our team.'

"It's definitely a deflator," added winger Jamie McGinn, who likely played his last game for the Sabres. "We need to have our power play change the momentum of the game in our favor. I felt it changed momentum into their favor far too much."

Rookie Jack Eichel had a team-high six shots on goal in the game but endured his sixth straight outing without a goal. And he was on the ice for both of Pearson's tallies. The power play was a big downer to Eichel too.

"Some things need to change with it," he said. "It seems like we can't maintain too much pressure in their zone. We have to extend our shifts down there as a unit, start to execute a lot better. It comes down to how hard you want it."

Eichel certainly wants to score but he's been stuck at 17 goals the last six games and his frustration level is growing.

"Myself, no production in these three games," he said. "I need to be a lot better and I need to step up. Coach puts me in great situations, playing with great players, on the power play. I'm getting the opportunities. I need to start finish. It starts with me."

So with no games until Tuesday, the Sabres will fly home Sunday and stay in check-your-phone mode in advance of Monday's trade deadline. McGinn figures he's gone.

"I'll be waiting for it to ring probably, I don't know," he said. "It's unfortunate but that's the business of hockey. I really don't know what's going to happen. It's a little mentally draining but that's the name of the game."

Bylsma agreed that it will be easier to carry on with the season once decisions are finalized.

"I think that will be the place," Bylsma said. "You'll look to get to that time on the clock on the 29th and move on from there."

email: mharrington@buffnews.com

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