Carter Hutton received a sarcastic cheer from the KeyBank Center crowd as he froze the puck in the second period Tuesday night.
Less than three minutes later, Hutton was skating toward the bench. The Buffalo Sabres' goalie was pulled after allowing five goals on 13 shots, and his replacement, Jonas Johansson, didn't receive much help from teammates, either.
With their season on the brink, the Sabres imploded on home ice for the third time in a week, losing to the Colorado Avalanche, 6-1. Buffalo (23-23-7) has allowed 14 goals in three losses over a seven-day span.
Its lone goal was scored by Sam Reinhart off a deflection with less than one second remaining in the first period. Colorado (29-16-6), which leads the Western Conference in goals, scored on four of its first six shots in the second period.
Sam Girard, Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Nikita Zadorov, Valeri Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen scored for the Avalanche.
Momentum: The Sabres outshot Colorado, 7-1, through the first 10 minutes of the game. Reinhart was stopped by goalie Philipp Grubauer after collecting a 2-on-1 saucer pass from Jimmy Vesey, and the Sabres were unable to score on a power play with Kadri in the penalty box.
Out of sight: Almost every player on the ice was unable to find the puck after defenseman Ryan Graves' shot was blocked by Rasmus Ristolainen in front of the net. While all eyes were on Ristolainen, who was called for a delayed penalty, Girard retrieved the loose puck and shot into the net for a 1-0 lead at 13:12 into the game.
Another mistake: Forty-five seconds later, Burakovsky scored with a 2-on-1 wrist shot over Hutton's blocker, a possession that began when the Avalanche winger beat Reinhart and Zach Bogosian to the puck in the neutral zone.
Home cooking: Reinhart cut the deficit to one goal with 0.9 seconds remaining in the first period by deflecting Jake McCabe's shot from the point. Reinhart has 27 points through 27 home games, including 16 points in his last 13 games in KeyBank Center. It was his 19th goal of the season, only six off his previous career high.
Buffalo was outshot, 7-1, over the final 9:30 of the first period, and it entered Tuesday with a 5-12-5 record when trailing after the first 20 minutes of a game.
Pouring on: After a push in the opening moments of the second period, the Sabres fell behind 3-1 on a wrist shot by Kadri from the left-wing circle. Hutton dropped down into a butterfly as soon as the cross-ice pass reached Kadri, leaving too much of the net open at the far post.
Coverage mishap: The Sabres failed to maintain defensive-zone coverage on Zadorov, a former Sabre, when the 6-foot-6 defenseman skated down the slot and scored with a backhand shot for a 4-1 lead at 4:32 into the second period.
Early exit: Hutton was pulled after allowing a goal in which Nichushkin's shot went off Colin Miller's stick and into the net for a 5-1 Colorado lead at 10:58 into the second period. With his secondary assist on the goal, Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar set a franchise record with 38 points this season.
Not-so-warm welcome: Johansson allowed a goal on his first shot against in the NHL, a 2-on-1 shot off the near post by Rantanen. The Avalanche scored four goals on their first six shots in the second period.
Injury updates: Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (upper body), center Johan Larsson (lower body) and center Curtis Lazar (illness) were scratched. In a corresponding move, the Sabres recalled Rasmus Asplund from Rochester.
Asplund, 22, had one assist in five games after rejoining the Amerks on Jan. 19. He appeared in 28 games during his previous stint with the Sabres, scoring one goal with two assists.
Next: The Sabres are scheduled to practice Wednesday in preparation for their game Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings in KeyBank Center.