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Sabres do a lot, but just not enough to win

CHICAGO -- Right now, the Buffalo Sabres are doing just enough to lose. Especially on the road.

Thursday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in United Center didn't prompt anguish in the Sabres' dressing room. It was more a sense of bewilderment about an ultra-loose affair that featured a combined 84 shots on goal and 133 attempts.

"It's frustrating, pretty wide-open hockey," said goalie Carter Hutton, who made seven of his 41 saves in a wild overtime period. "I don't know if we want to exchange chances with a team like that. We get in the habit of doing that and we don't fare too well."

It was a game that saw the Sabres overcome a 2-0 deficit with three goals in a span of 3 minutes, 29 seconds early in the second period. The Blackhawks tied it on Artem Anisimov's second goal of the game at 4:48 of the third period. Buffalo went ahead at 7:20 on a Kyle Okposo goal before Chicago knotted the score again 37 seconds later as Brendan Perlini made it 4-4.

The Wraparound: Blackhawks 5, Sabres 4 (SO)

The overtime was crazy, with Chicago having a 7-5 advantage in shots but Hutton and the Hawks' Corey Crawford going 12 for 12. Chicago won the shootout, 3-1, as Hutton couldn't make a stop against Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat.

The Sabres gave up two goals in the game shortly after unforced icing violations brought the puck back into their zone. And they led twice but couldn't seal the deal.

In the final analysis, that's nine straight losses here since 2007 for Buffalo (0-6-3). It's seven in a row this year on the road overall (0-5-2) and 18 of the last 21 away from KeyBank Center (3-15-3).

"It's disappointing. These guys are working hard and they're not getting rewarded," said coach Phil Housley. "That's the difficult thing. That's the mental thing we're facing right now. We're going to have to just keep digging in."

"We played a good first period I thought and there's a couple mistakes that end up in the back of the net," Okposo said. "We did a good job in the second period coming out and staying composed. For the most part in the third, we did as well. It just seems the breakdowns end up in the back of our net."

It was even one of those rare games where Jack Eichel's line did no scoring and the Sabres got four goals and 30 shots on goal elsewhere.

The defense produced goals from Brandon Montour and Zach Bogosian, who netted the first short-handed goal of his NHL career. Vladimir Sobotka scored outside garbage time for the first time since Nov. 8 and Okposo converted an Evan Rodrigues pass for his first goal in eight games.

Bogosian's short-handed goal might have been the prettiest of the night. It looked like he had gotten himself in too deep on a rush with Sobotka and, having already moved past the goal line, he reached back and curled the puck inside the goalpost.

"I saw 'Sobi' coming down the back side. That was the in initial look," Bogosian said. "When I saw that closed off, I knew I had to take it to the net."

In the end, the Sabres couldn't survive the shootout against the Blackhawks' big guns. Toews and DeBrincat burned Hutton on dekes and Kane singed him with a snapshot.

"It was a little lazy on my part. I think You just get gassed in overtime and I leave my feet too early," Hutton admitted. "Those guys are just too good, too patient. The Toews one I made it way too easy on him. Kane honestly he's a pretty nifty player. DeBrincat I thought I read it pretty well and just kind of overplayed it."

"This is where we're at right now," Housley said. "We're going to have to scrape and claw for every point we get. It's a valuable lesson when you get that one goal lead and now it's time to buckle down."

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