Even the Sabres teams that were built to lose could beat the Los Angeles Kings in Buffalo. This edition couldn't.
It barely even tried for the first 40 minutes.
Buffalo had won eight straight games against the Kings in KeyBank Center, part of a 14-1-1 run that dates to December 1993. This group tossed that success into the Buffalo River, allowing Los Angeles to dominate in a 4-2 victory Saturday afternoon.
Los Angeles had 30 shots during the opening two periods in building a 4-0 lead. The Kings won in Buffalo for the first time since a 4-1 win Feb. 21, 2003.
The Sabres fell to 8-17-4 at home and 17-31-11 overall.
Kings strike first …: Los Angeles opened the scoring with 11:26 gone, and goaltender Robin Lehner would like another chance at it. Andy Andreoff pushed a bouncing puck to Michael Amadio in the right circle, and it looked for a moment like Amadio wouldn't get a shot off.
He did from a bad angle, and it went between Lehner's pads to put the Sabres in a 1-0 hole.
... And second: As Benoit Pouliot tried to exit the Sabres' zone, he fell and gave the puck to the Kings. Dustin Brown fed Anze Kopitar, and the center skated a clear path to the net, went around the sprawling Lehner and dumped the puck home with 7:58 left in the second period.
… And third: Fans began grabbing their coats and heading toward the exits with 3:54 left in the second when Los Angeles made it 3-0. Brown passed to Eden native Alex Iafallo behind the net, and the left winger quickly hit Kopitar in front. The center buried his 25th of the season.
… And fourth: Amadio joined Kopitar with a multiple-goal day with 2:25 remaining in the second. Jonny Brodzinski found Amadio in the high slot, and the forward beat Lehner on the stick side to give the Kings a commanding 4-0 lead.
Three in a row: The Kings' three second-period goals came on three consecutive shots.
Booooo: As the second period came to a merciful end, the fans loudly booed the home team as it trudged to the dressing room.
Switch: Backup goalie Chad Johnson headed to the crease for the third period. Lehner finished with 26 saves on 30 shots in 40 minutes.
Finally: The Sabres got the zero off the scoreboard with 30 seconds gone in the final period. The puck came to a rest near the top of the Kings' zone, and defenseman Marco Scandella unleashed a slap shot with the thunder of a freight train.
After the puck barreled into the top corner, Scandella coasted to the corner and leaped into the glass.
Money: The Sabres hold a promotion in which a goal during the opening minute of the third period earns an additional $5,000 grant for a charity. As Gary Bluestein held the original $2,000 check for the Western New York Food Bank, Scandella's goal boosted the total to $7,000.
One more: Rasmus Ristolainen scored with 3:18 to go, cutting the Sabres' deficit to a prettier-looking 4-2. Ryan O'Reilly's shot found traffic in front, and Evander Kane put a no-look backhand pass onto Ristolainen's stick.
Shots, shots, shots: The Kings came in averaging 30.9 shots per game. They took 19 in the first period, including nine of the opening 11. Buffalo had eight shots through 20 minutes.
Los Angeles had a 30-17 advantage through two periods.
Welcome home: When the Kings came out of the dressing room for the pregame skate, about 100 fans were ready near the tunnel. They cheered as Iafallo emerged and prepared to skate as the left winger on Los Angeles' top line.
Friends and family members lined the glass with cutouts of Iafallo's face and held up a sign that professed Eden's love for its hometown player. Another cheer came when the 24-year-old was announced as part of the Kings' starting lineup with Kopitar and Brown.
Moment of silence: The Sabres asked fans for a moment of silence before the game to honor the students and faculty who lost their lives during the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Counting the house: The Sabres announced 18,632 tickets sold.
Next: The Sabres will get ready for another matinee Monday. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will visit Monday with a 3 p.m. start on Presidents' Day.