Overreactions, 7th Edition: Lights out.

Well, that was, to borrow a line from Jim Lahey, “shit-tacular.”

With a four game road-trip winding to a close with a Saturday night tilt in Tampa Bay, the Sabres, winners of three straight, came out flat and played easily their worst game of the campaign to date. The Lightning cruised in handing Buffalo a 3-0 loss, winning the first half of a home-and-home set which concludes Tuesday at First Niagara Center.

Tampa goalie Mathieu Garon, who entered the game with a 1-7-0 career record, .878 save percentage, and 3.61 goals against versus Buffalo, pitched the shutout, stopping all 21 shots.

Ryan Miller stopped 23 of 25 shots for Buffalo, grabbing his second loss of the season.

“It’s one of those nights where we didn’t deserve the points, and we didn’t get them because we didn’t create enough,” Buffalo right wing Jason Pominville said.

Buffalo failed to generate much offensively, as indicated by the score. The powerplay went 0-for-3 and trailing heading into the third, managed just five shots in the final 20 minutes.

It was also the first game away from the 716 area code that the Sabres lost this season.

  • The worst loss of the night may be Tyler Ennis. The dynamic forward, while pointless on the season, can be a huge part of the team’s offensive threat. Although he has been languishing in the black hole of suckage known as “whatever line Ville Leino is centering” for most of the season, he looked great as soon as he was rescued to a line with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford. Ennis played just 35 seconds before getting hurt, and it’s unknown whether it will be long-term as of now.
  • Lindy Ruff had maintained since Jhonas Enroth’s win in Pittsburgh that the backup would get another start on the roadtrip. At least until Ryan Miller pitched a shutout in Florida. I said it before the game, and even with the lackluster effort from the skaters, I still maintain that Enroth should’ve started.
  • I briefly mentioned in the postgame of the Florida game how Brad Boyes did good on faceoffs, going 4-for-5. Well, Boyes went 3-for-3 in Tampa. Maybe it’s time to look at moving him to center, at least to take draws.
  • Obligatory “Andrej Sekera played well” comment.
  • I have an issue with the Tampa Bay Lightning giving Jim Craig a Lightning jersey with his name and number on it. I see how it can be appropriate to honor a celebrity with their own jersey, but the guy played in the NHL for a number of teams. A number of which do not include the Tampa Bay Lightning. Total jersey foul.
  • Obligatory “Ville Leino was awful” comment. That giveaway on the St. Louis goal was atrocious. I get that the guy has confidence with the puck and defends it well. But he’s showing a knack for hanging on to it too long and trying to throw it through areas that don’t need to be tested. The guy can simplify his game and do himself a lot of good.
  • The Sabres have been struggling on the powerplay, with another 0-for against Tampa. Interestingly enough, the Sabres have had just 22 opportunities, dead last in the NHL.
  • One guy that hasn’t been mentioned here a lot has been Robyn Regehr. He certainly doesn’t do much to “wow” you, but the guy has been pretty solid. He was one of the three defenseman to stay even on the night (Gragnani and Sekera the others) and he’s just been overall good this season. Quietly superb.

Posted on October 23, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Jim Craig earned a lifetime exemption from jersey fouls relating to any American hockey team on February 22, 1980. Sorry you missed the memo on that.

  2. No one is giving Craig a jersey for his crappy and forgettable NHL career. He’s getting a jersey because he had a fantastic two weeks as the starting goalie for the biggest USA Olympic sports win in the last century. This is not Gretzky getting a Sabres Jersey (which should be the Godwin’s Law of jersey foul discussions), it’s more like an Astronaut or the President getting an honorary jersey when he meets the champions of whatever or throws out the first pitch at some game.

    Well, unless your point is to critique the awarding of any jersey with the name of anyone who hasn’t started for a particular NHL team, in which case get back to us when you get done haranguing Sabretooth and Terry Pegula over their jerseys.

  3. I have to disagree on the jersey foul for Craig. It is well documented on Puck Daddy that team-awarded jerseys, no matter who they go to, are exempt from being considered fouls.

    I will say there is no reason for the Lightning to be giving Craig a jersey considering the Lightning franchise wasn’t even a twinkle in someone’s eye when Craig was flaming out of the NHL. So the Lightning are guilty of honoring a player who has no tie to the organization as a player, but the jersey itself doesn’t necessarily fall into the foul category.

    Also, @sabre fan, Sabretooth and Pegula, particularly Pegual, are also exempt under the “team awarded” and “I’m the totally awesome billionaire owner I’ll do what I want” clauses, respectively.

    • Team awarded jerseys are totally exempt from being fouls, except in my opinion, in cases like this. Sure Craig’s career was insignificant, but he still was an NHL player and never played for the franchise. It’s not some minor league team honoring a hall-of-famer or celebrity. It’s a team in the same league as the teams the man played for. Whether it’s for one game or 1,000. I think this landed in foul territory.

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