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Frustration builds as Sabres ponder missed opportunities

It was a painfully quiet Monday morning for the Sabres. Prior to a team meeting, players walked from the dressing room one a time to explain the latest bitter loss and how much it’s affected them.

Judging by the lack of smiles, slow words and low volume, it’s clearly affected them.

“Especially with how close the playoff race is, it’s frustrating,” defenseman Jake McCabe said in KeyBank Center. “We could be right there. We could be knocking on the door.”

Indeed, despite a miserable 1-4-2 stretch, the Sabres are only five points out of a playoff spot. Sure, they have a couple of extra games played on the wild-card hopefuls, but if they’d closed out leads lately, things would look much different in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re still not out of it, and that’s what’s frustrating,” McCabe said. “If we could string more together here – and we very well should have – then we’re going to be right there. That’s what the really frustrating part is.”

In three of the past five games, the Sabres have coughed up third-period leads. Twice, including Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh, they failed to get a point for reaching overtime.

Since their bye week in late February, the Sabres are 1-3-2. They’re getting outscored just 22-19 during the skid.

“We could easily be 6-0 if you look at the scenarios we’ve been in,” left wing Evander Kane said. “Disappointing? That’s one word to use.”

The Sabres have just 16 games remaining, starting Tuesday when Philadelphia comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. start.

“I’m just moving on,” Kane said, “looking forward to tomorrow night and another opportunity to come out and get a win.”

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