No matter the circumstances, preseason or regular season, it’s hard to know what to expect after Sunday’s shitshow in Toronto. The circus of the last couple days really had nothing to do with tonight’s game, and it showed.
Not a fight, scrum or scrap to be seen, as the Buffalo Sabres rode the solid goaltending of Jhonas Enroth and steady defense in front of him to a 3-0 win over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.
Buffalo jumped out to a lead early in the second period as Ville Leino finished a rebound from a Cody Hodgson shot as the team skated 6-on-5 on a delayed penalty. With Enroth on the bench for the extra attacker, the team generated multiple chances before Leino scored his first of the preseason.
That was all the offense they’d need, as Enroth stopped 26 shots to earn his first win.
“I don’t think it was that tough of a game on me, actually,” said Enroth. “Overall it was a pretty easy game.”
Third period goals by Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons provided the insurance for the Sabres, who moved to 4-1-1 on the exhibition season. Defenseman Mike Weber added assists on all three Buffalo goals.
Buffalo has one more game before they play for keeps, Friday night in Carolina.
- Joel Armia played his last shift late in the second period and would leave the game with a hand injury. His line with Grigorenko and Girgensons looked really good, so it was disappointing that he disappeared. Sabres coach Ron Rolston was unsure of his status after the game.
- Weber’s three secondary assists look better in the box score than they did on the ice. He honestly had a pretty good game. Funny how he’s turned from a fringe defenseman to a solid veteran in the matter of a year or two.
- Hey Sabres, maybe don’t have your PR arm brag about the fact you didn’t bother to televise 6 of the team’s 7 preseason games. That needs to change next year, because things like Sunday should convince you that it’s worth the effort. Read the rest of this entry
Then the third period of the team’s fourth preseason game started.
Blowing a two goal lead in the final ten minutes of regulation, the Buffalo Sabres couldn’t beat James Reimer in time to save the win as they fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The game was decided by a shootout after a spirited overtime, and it took 30 (yes, 30) shooters to decide the winner. Jhonas Enroth was beaten by Jay McClement in the 15th round of the shootout, and Reimer stopped all 15 shooters he faced.
“I thought our game for 50 minutes was really, really strong,” said Sabres forward Steve Ott. “The last ten minutes, we cost ourselves.”
Enroth was solid in net for Buffalo, stopping 32 of 34 shots in addition to 14 of 15 in the shootout.
The Sabres got goals from Mark Pysyk and Marcus Foligno, while Jamie Devane (sounds fake to me) and McClement scored for Toronto. Reimer made 38 saves for the Leafs.
These teams meet again tomorrow night in Toronto, in what should be the last chance to impress for at least a few players.
- Brian Flynn really picked up his game from the other night, and his hustle gave him a few chances to make a mark. He needs another game like this to really make his case to stick around with a guy like Zemgus Girgensons in a good spot to make the team.
- People really hate Patrick Kaleta. Man, he was running around trying to hit anything the first few shifts of the game.
- Jamie McBain had a pretty solid game, but I’m not sure he’s going to make the team still. It’s obvious they were really trying to give him a solid look, as he had a team high 27:02 TOI, but I think that shows more that he’s on the fence than that he’s got a spot. Read the rest of this entry
In the Buffalo Sabres’ return to their home rink for their first home game of the preseason slate, a squad littered with young talent overcame a sloppy first 30 minutes to storm away with a 5-2 win over visiting Metropolitan Division rival, the Carolina Hurricanes.
Johan Larsson, acquired at last year’s trade deadline in the Jason Pominville deal, scored twice for Buffalo, who moved to 3-0-0 on the preseason campaign.
Trailing 1-0 after one period of play, Joel Armia scored his first of the preseason to tie the game. After surrendering another goal just minutes later, Larsson scored his first of the game, tipping in a Brayden McNabb point shot to deadlock the score after two periods.
Buffalo would go on to score three unanswered goals in the third, led by Cody Hodgson’s redirection of a Thomas Vanek pass with just under six minutes to go. Larsson and McNabb (who finished with a goal and two assists) would score insurance goals before the clock ran out.
The Sabres also got a very strong performance out of Ryan Miller, who played his first full game after splitting duties with Matt Hackett in Wednesday’s win over NHLBettingTips.com Metropolitan Division underdog Columbus. Miller stopped 34 of 36 shots to get the win.
While an undefeated record in preseason only means so much, the Sabres now face a home-and-home with Toronto. The Leafs will visit First Niagara Center on Saturday night for a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.
- Really like Johan Larsson’s game tonight. The guy does everything you’d want him to do. He goes to the net, wins draws (71% on 17 draws) and shows a lot of hustle. He could force his way into a roster spot, but if he doesn’t, he won’t be in Rochester long.
- Best guy on the ice for Carolina tonight? You guessed it: Andrej Sekera. Led Carolina with 23:03 of ice time, showed a lot of possession of the puck, and save for the two third period goals he was on the ice for, was really, really good. The Canes are gonna love him. Compher better pan out.
- Brayden McNabb’s game has been hit-or-miss for a little while, but tonight his work in the offensive zone is evident in the boxscore. That shot can generate a lot of opportunities, whether it’s going straight in, or he’s putting it in places that guys can tip it. He needs to show that if he wants to stick. Read the rest of this entry
Today, was… well, another day in the life.
After weeks and weeks of mind-numbing, pointless, frustrating, over-thought, underplanned teases, we finally saw the Sabres’ new third jersey. How we got to this point this way without a complete comprehensive fuck-up by multiple people involved in the process is beyond rational thought. But this is where we are, and it’s not a good spot. Or a good jersey.
We had known since last year that the Sabres would be breaking out a new uniform. Team President Ted Black had mentioned it on several occasions dating back to last season, and then we got a weird sneak preview at the team’s Blue/Gold scrimmage at Development Camp in July. They played a short video with shots of details of the uniform before a scrimmage attended by a couple thousand people at 4pm on a Friday preceding their “FanFest,” which was poorly planned in itself. (Remember that 10,000 Maniacs concert? Yeah, this is all connected.)
I had low expectations going in. Not just because it seems like I hate everything the organization does, or want to, or anything stereotypical like that, but the track record wasn’t good coming in. The last third jersey, for the team’s 40th anniversary, was over-thought and underwhelming. The recently re-did Buffalo Bandits uniforms, designed by the organization’s creative team, showed a penchant for a sloppy mess of details, needless features and general bad design (Gradient backs with a solid nameplate? Yikes.) What are the odds the people at the computers in the office had all of a sudden learned good taste? Slim. But we had to wait and see. I was open-minded about it.
Alas, my skepticism wasn’t helped by the way they decided to tease it. I criticize the PR/social media department’s lack of substance constantly, but they really turned on the fluff for this one. After the initial video of tight shots of the collar and piping, they decided to randomly post swatches. Or post pictures of pant shells and call them jerseys. With no rhyme or reason, and no final date in sight, they decided posting vague pictures intermittently was the best way to show this off. Icethetics summed it up pretty well. It was getting old and wasn’t generating much goodwill. Even worse, it seemed like they were willingly ignoring the negative feedback and not realizing their plan was a mess.
And that led to today. Read the rest of this entry
With their flickering playoff hopes in the balance, and the 8th place New York Rangers coming into First Niagara Center, there was little doubt. Buffalo gave up six straight goals en route to a hope-extinguishing 8-4 loss.
“It’s unexplainable, unexcusable,” said Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. “That’s just the way our season went. Just like it did tonight.”
The Sabres held the Rangers in check for the first 18:42 of the opening period, but a Carl Hagelin goal opened the floodgates. Brad Richards would score 57 seconds later, and Ryan Miller would have one of the worst fuck-ups of his career, handing the puck to Ryane Clowe who made it 3-0 with less than four seconds left in the period.
“That’s one of the worst plays I’ve made while I’ve been here,” said Miller. “Just shitty timing.”
New York scored early in the second, with Anton Stralman and Brad Richards extending the lead, as the Rangers opened up a 5-0 lead in a span of 2:58 of play. Rick Nash made it 6-0 before Buffalo finally found the board.
Cody Hodgson, Nathan Gerbe, Drew Stafford and Mark Pysyk, with the first of his NHL career, scored for the Sabres, who are now officially relegated to watching the postseason.
Miller was pulled after the fourth Rangers goal, giving up four goals on 14 shots. Jhonas Enroth didn’t fare much better, stopping 11 shots and allowing four goals as well. Ryan Callahan also scored for New York, and Brad Richards finished the hat trick midway through the third period.
Thanks to the shitshow in Boston this week, the NHL postponed what would’ve been a trip to Pittsburgh to play the Pens tomorrow. Now, the Sabres are off until Monday. Time to let it sink in.
- Glad to see the media piling on game presentation for not referencing the fact the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was caught. Could’ve been an emotional moment, huge missed opportunity. The crowd has been awful all season, and in a do-or-die game, they were even worse tonight. Everyone in that department deserves a pink slip based on performance alone. Letting this shit continue is just accepting below-average results.
- John Scott played 11:00 tonight. The man has not scored a goal since November of 2009. What did I just say about accepting below-average results again?
- Ron Rolston got fiery in his postgame press conference when an unnamed Buffalo News reporter who may or may not drive a white van offered some weak questions. Few media in the room desired to break it up. Can only speak for myself, but it was enjoyable. Read the rest of this entry
With a split crowd thanks to legions of visiting fans in First Niagara Center, there was no home ice advantage, and the home team got crushed by the Montreal Canadiens in a 5-1 loss.
“That was an embarrassing loss,” said Sabres forward Cody Hodgson. “They played a lot better than we did and we, collectively as a group, didn’t match it.”
Buffalo got outplayed for the duration of the game, getting outshot 42-15, and after Rene Bourque opened the scoring 6:43 into the opening period, the outcome was never in doubt. Montreal would take a 2-0 lead on an Alex Galchenyuk goal moments later, and added two more in the second period.
Ryan Miller ended up getting pulled after 40 minutes, surrendering four goals on 32 shots. Jhonas Enroth would stop 9 of 10 he faced in the third.
Rookie Brian Flynn scored the only goal for Buffalo, his fifth of the season, while the team was shorthanded in the third. Montreal’s star defenseman P.K. Subban added a powerplay goal late to extend the final margin.
The Canadiens clinched a playoff berth with the win, while the Sabres are for all intents and purposes dunzo. The only race they’re in now is to the bottom.
- The Sabres got assessed a bench minor for abuse of officials near the end of the game. I don’t know if anyone asked what happened, but I at least appreciate the passion. That’s something.
- Steve Ott can’t get praised enough for what he does. He does everything he can to win. He’s got the right attitude and mindset, and if you look at the numbers, he does back it up. Seeing him in the locker room, full equipment still on, bruised and bloodied… as a fan, you can’t ask for more.
- As much as the team on the ice needs fixing, they got enough work to do off ice as well. Such a miserable place to see a game.
- Really taking a liking to Brian Flynn, which I’ve stated in here before, but I’ll reiterate it whenever I feel the need. I could handle a Flynn-Porter-somebody fourth line next year. He’s gonna need some time to develop, but the tools are there. Read the rest of this entry