Overreactions, 66th Edition: Sabres lose game, win because they get to leave Winnipeg
Sure, looking at the standings, Monday night’s game in Winnipeg (a vacation destination listed somewhere between Sarajevo and Chernobyl on the countdown of “Most Desirable Places To Visit”) looked like a big game. The Sabres, just two points behind the 8th place Thrashers-at-heart, could’ve jumped ahead with a regulation win.
Had it not been at the conclusion of a roadtrip that helped resurrect the team’s season, it might’ve been a do-or-die situation. But thanks to wins at Anaheim, San Jose and Vancouver, arguably, they were already playing with house money. Four-for-four wasn’t in the cards. Oh well.
Buffalo surrendered a lead for the first time in more than two weeks and rarely looked threatening in a 3-1 loss to the team they renamed the Jets.
Ryan Miller, who was sublime for the first three games of the trip, looked solid, but his 28 saves on 31 shots was not enough to steal any points.
Corey Tropp scored for Buffalo.
The Sabres looked lifeless for most of the game, showing signs of wear after three hard-fought wins before getting sent to play in poor conditions against a rested team.
Buffalo now sits four points out of a playoff spot, while still maintaining a game in hand. Winnipeg, clearly a better team in their AHL-sized home rink, plays just six games there for the remainder of the season. They have the 25th best road record in the NHL. Needless to say, the 8th spot is there for the taking.
- Pretty shocked Lindy Ruff didn’t juggle lines a bit to find something other than the fourth line that might’ve shown something. The top line of Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville looked atrocious. They were each -2 and played under 17 minutes. Your top line is supposed to step up. They didn’t.
- Seriously, when you’re down two in the final minutes and Matt Ellis is on the ice, your team has problems.
- Good for Corey Tropp to grab that goal. Kid battles hard and has hands to match. Just get him a real jersey number.
- You know who’s been underwhelming lately? Nathan Gerbe. He hasn’t seemed explosive whatsoever and doesn’t seem to be winning enough physical battles. Wonder if he’s battling an injury or if he’s just worn down a bit.
- Brad Boyes has four points in four games since the trade deadline.
- To the people who try to shit on talk about crowds and game presentation, and what kind of effect it has on the game, look at Winnipeg. That team is not good. They have such a tough atmosphere for opposition teams to succeed in that they succeed by default. Build a place people don’t want to play in. Sabres aren’t doing a good enough job at that.
- Robyn Regehr looked brutal getting walked by Chris freaking Thorburn. Yikes. If he’s hurt, sit him. That can’t happen.
- Kudos to NBC Sports Network for getting the Jets-fanboy crew to call the game. Gord Miller is great at what he does, but they did a horrible job realizing who their audience was. Pierre McGuire couldn’t stop jabbering on about every guy in blue and how great they are. They’re barely hanging on to 8th in the East, stop treating them like the ’77 Canadiens.
- Jason Pominville pointless streak now at 6 games.
- The team looked tired. Fine. 3-1-0 on the trip is a win. But as much as Miller remains to be the difference maker, they gotta work in Jhonas Enroth more and have the confidence in him to succeed. Miller will not do it by himself. He can’t. He couldn’t in 2008. He couldn’t in 2009. He can’t this year. Enroth’s career numbers against Carolina, Wednesday’s opponent, are near perfect. Give Miller a well-deserved night off.
Posted on March 6, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged Brad Boyes, Corey Tropp, Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Jhonas Enroth, Lindy Ruff, Matt Ellis, Nathan Gerbe, Overreactions, Robyn Regehr, Ryan Miller, Sabres, Teams that should've stayed in Atlanta, Thomas Vanek, Winnipeg Jets. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.