The Sabres’ emotional 3-1 victory in Ted Nolan’s debut as interim coach Nov. 15 is starting to feel like a distant memory.Yes, the Sabres have been showcasing a better compete level at times. Yes, they’re starting games much better.But the bottom-feeding club has been outscored 15-5 in four straight losses since beating Toronto. The Sabres, who have an NHL-low five wins and 11 points, are still really bad.“I really liked the emotion of the first game, and everyone was expecting that,” Nolan said Monday inside the First Niagara Center. “And the second game we had emotion for two periods and it dropped off for a period. Third game, we started off really well and it tailed off. Fourth game, same thing. Fifth game, same thing.“There’s glimpses of playing well, then we collapse. So we just got to learn to do it on a consistent basis and having faith in one another. I don’t think we have too much faith in one another.”Nolan spent much of Monday’s long practice working in the defensive zone, where the Sabres, having allowed 3.16 goals a game, are a mess. He wants his club to start playing more instinctively.“We just kind of react after the fact,” he said. “A lot of our problems are because of breakdowns. So we’re going to try to correct that so one hand knows what the other one does. We talk about communication, talking down low. We’re a very quiet team. We don’t talk enough. I’ve always said, ‘Good communication eliminates duplication so you don’t do someone else’s job.’”Still, the Sabres possess better instincts than they did under former coach Ron Rolston, defenseman Henrik Tallinder said.“We were a little too hesitant before,” Tallinder said. “(We watched) a lot of video. And I think Ron is a good coach, too. It’s not that. I just felt that all the guys were jumping on the train a little bit more with Ted.”Nolan hasn’t been able to change one constant of this trying season, however. The Sabres often appear deflated after an opponent scores.
Ted Nolan wants more emotion from struggling Sabres: ‘I don’t think we have too much faith in one another’
Buffalo Hockey Beat | Nov 26