ANAHEIM -- If you slept through Thursday's 2-0 loss by the Sabres in Los Angeles, you didn't miss much. The most exciting part of the night was goaltender Robin Lehner's measured but forceful words to reporters afterward.
It was only because of Lehner that the Sabres were in the game at all. The shots on goal were 15-2 after the first period and 25-11 after 40 minutes but the game remained scoreless. Lehner has been red-hot his last three games while many of his teammates have struggled mightily.
The Sabres have just one goal on the first two games of this trip, free-falling to 2-8-2 over their last 12 games. The slide has them in jeopardy of falling into last place in the Atlantic Division by the time they leave Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Monday night.
What's left to play for other than pride? Watching some young players have success would be nice.
The only forwards worth much in LA were the line of Evan Rodrigues between Hudson Fasching and Marcus Foligno. Rodrigues had a game-high five shots on goal in the game and had several good scoring chances while Fasching was a physical presence along the boards all night and Foligno was likewise, culminating in a third-period punchfest with Los Angeles' Kyle Clifford.
"We created some chances definitely," Rodrigues said. "As a team we started off slower than we wanted to but we were effective when we got some pucks deep, worked their 'D' and tried to play down low."
Rodrigues admitted the Sabres were frustrated by several close calls near Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Incredibly, the Sabres have been shut out by 2-0 scores four straight times in Staples Center.
"If we got one, it would have been a little lighter on our sticks and made more plays," Rodrigues said. "We had chances and pucks hit him and we had rebound chances we just couldn't find. One of those games you get the chances and you think if you bury one, it's a whole different game."
Rodrigues, Jack Eichel's former Boston University linemate, has three goals and two assists in 19 games for the Sabres this season, taking a regular role and apprently joining them for keeps on Feb. 12.
Fasching got physical with Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty, prompting the former Norris Trophy winner into a retaliatory cross-checking penalty at one stage. In his first game since Oct. 30, he certainly drew notice from coach Dan Bylsma.
"It stood out right away in the game," Bylsma said of Fasching's physicality. "He knocked '8' on his butt and drew some attention from the opposition, got us on the power play."
"That's what he brings," Rodrigues said. "He's a big physical body who's good in the corners and I think he did that tonight."
With the back to back, the Sabres did not take a morning skate today prior to their game Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks. Bylsma is scheduled to update the media around 7:30 ET/4:30 PT.