Overreactions, 33rd Edition: Alright… okay…

Tuesday night’s game was one of those nights where maybe you’re not quite sure how to react anymore. Maybe you just laugh. Maybe you snap. Who knows at this point.

In an effort to reassert themselves after Saturday’s debacle in Pittsburgh, the Sabres came out and worked hard early. Unfortunately, the goals never came,  bad mistakes did them in, and they walked away from another game on the wrong end of the result.

With Marcus Foligno and Derek Whitmore making their NHL debuts, a depleted Buffalo squad just didn’t do enough to get it done, falling to the Ottawa Senators, taking a 4-1 loss at Scotiabank Place.

Jordan Leopold scored for Buffalo, who now sits in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with the loss.

Ryan Miller, who attracted some deserved criticism after being chased twice against the Penguins, rebounded with a strong game in which he seemed to make the saves he needed to, but didn’t get enough help from his teammates offensively. Miller finished with 35 saves on 38 shots, as the Sens outshot Buffalo 39-23.

“I thought the first 40 was a pretty even game,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We knew we couldn’t play run and gun with them, but I thought we created some good opportunities, but didn’t take advantage of them.”

The Sabres now head to Toronto, where they’ll play their last game before the holiday break.

  • Derek Whitmore, under the circumstances, was outstanding. After a full travel day Monday coming off three games in three nights, he was energetic and created good pressure offensively. With that performance, he’s definitely not first on the list to go back to Rochester. Or shouldn’t be, at least.
  • Now that we’re getting that far the depth chart, you’re finally seeing a guy get called up and just show he’s not ready yet. Marcus Foligno is going to be a good NHL player. He’s got natural talent and a good game. But he’s not gonna earn a spot for a year or two. It showed tonight.
  • Thank god Jordan Leopold’s chipping in goals, because no one else on the blueline is. Leopold now has six goals on the year. Every other defenseman that’s suited up this season have combined for eight goals. That’s not good.
  • Drew Stafford’s offensive struggles are one thing, but for a guy that’s been identified as someone who needs to be a leader, the penalty he took in the second period is inexcusable. Taking away a powerplay opportunity with a stupid slash out of frustration shows that maybe he’s not to the point yet where he should be looked at in a leadership role. Unnecessary.
  • Speaking of stupid-ass penalties, way to take a roughing penalty with three minutes left and the team down one goal Paul Gaustad. Terrible.
  • There had to be something wrong with the ice at Scotiabank Place. Guys were falling all over. The puck was bouncing everywhere. It was an extremely sloppy game. Wasn’t very fun to watch.
  • Since he was called out for being bad the other night, gotta give props for Matt Ellis having a good game. Had some very good shifts in the offensive zone.
  • Paul MacLean’s mustache remains impressive.
  • Also on the Sens, Craig Anderson wasn’t especially phenomenal. Sabres failed to put enough pressure on him. He looked shaky whenever there was sustained pressure.
  • As much as injuries play a part in why the team struggles, the guys who are healthy that aren’t contributing are just as much to blame. Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville have straight up carried the team. Luke Adam has filled in well and been a good addition. Derek Roy and Drew Stafford are underachieving. But the guys further down the depth chart are just straight-up not putting the puck in the net. The bottom two lines have to find ways to chip in. Gaustad especially. Ellis and Cody McCormick aren’t off the hook either. They’re supposed to be veterans on the roster. It shouldn’t be up to guys like Kassian and Szczechura themselves to pick up the slack with Hecht and Ennis out.

Posted on December 21, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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