The day started with a blueliner leaving the building, and it ended with the defense nowhere to be found.
In another episode of “This Team Is Not Good This Year,” the Buffalo Sabres blew leads of 2-0 and 3-1 en route to a 4-3 shootout loss to a Washington team they never trailed for a minute of the 65 played on the night.
Buffalo jumped out to an early lead on Christian Ehrhoff’s fourth of the season just three minutes into the game. Ville Leino would register his first of the season just 1:19 into the second to stretch the margin to two, before Washington star Alexander Ovechkin cut it in half just over a minute later.
Leino would add another midway through the second. And it was all down hill from there, starting with Troy Brouwer’s shorthanded goal early in the third period with American hero John Carlson in the box for the Caps.
“It’s disappointing,” said Leino. “That is a big goal to give up and after that they were fired up and wanted to win the game and that’s just things that shouldn’t happen.”
Mike Green would tie the game in the final minute with the extra attacker, and took the game in the shootout on goals by Matt Hendricks and the aforementioned Ovechkin.
Jhonas Enroth, despite stopping no shots in the shootout, was sensational for much of the 65 minutes before that, stopping 35 shots.
“No excuses for it,” said Ehrhoff. “We’re up 3-1 and put this game away and… we didn’t.”
- Drew Stafford, without being on the scoresheet, played a hell of a game. One of his best efforts in recent memory. Showed a lot of hustle and created some good opportunities. Maybe he knew the scouts were watching, but I had to get him a vote for three stars. He deserved it.
- You guys in game presentation can be done with the drumline anytime. You’re missing the point.
- Enroth has been stringing together some nice starts. While the wins aren’t piling up, it’s usually not due to poor goaltending. With a baker’s dozen of games left in the season, he should be getting a fair share, at least four or five of them. But that’s not considering what might happen by Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry
Their opponent had limited quality scoring opportunities and good work in the offensive zone gave them a solid 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. But this is the 2012-2013 Buffalo Sabres.
Ottawa stormed back in the second period with three goals, and scored the winner in overtime as they defeated Buffalo by a score of 4-3. Kyle Turris won it with the Senators enjoying the extra man thanks to a Christian Ehrhoff penalty halfway through the extra period.
The Sabres salvaged a point thanks to a third period equalizer by Drew Stafford, who scored his second of the game with approximately eight minutes left. It was his second of the game, doubling his season goal total.
“We gave them a point tonight,” said defenseman Mike Weber, who tallied his first goal of the season. “It’s extremely upsetting. I don’t know what else to say.”
Goals by Patrick Wiercioch, Chris Phillips and Kyle Turris turned the game around for Ottawa, who outshot the Sabres 15-9 in the second. Buffalo, by virtue of the point earned in overtime, temporarily moved into 12th place in the East.
Ryan Miller stopped 30 shots in the loss.
“We’ve got to put together a hell of a stretch here just to have a chance to get in the playoffs. To go to sleep there for 20, it’s extremely disappointing,” said Weber.
- Ville Leino looked really good in his season debut. He picked up an assist on the Weber goal, and was in position to get a piece of it on its way through. It’s hard to gauge how his absence has effected the team. As much as he draws the ire of many, the team is better with him than without him.
- Not sure I’d have called it “interference,” but Christian Ehrhoff definitely earned that penalty in overtime.
- Hopefully, Drew Stafford gained some confidence with his two goals. He earned them how he should be earning them regularly: going to the front of the net and getting pucks on goal. If anyone could use a little hot streak, it’s him. Read the rest of this entry
“It’s disappointing. It’s embarrassing to miss the playoffs,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said. “We have a lot of talented players on this team and we just didn’t get it going early enough this season.”
And so it ends.
Despite a rousing run to insert themselves back into the playoff race, all postseason hopes are gone after a 2-1 loss in Philadelphia Thursday night.
Ville Leino gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Flyers rebounded in the third period, tying the game on a Marc-Andre Bourdon goal six minutes into the period.
With the Sabres holding on trying to send the game to overtime and earn at least one crucial point, Philadelphia rookie Matt Read took advantage of Robyn Regehr’s defensive zone miscue to add the dagger with 4:21 remaining.
“We just didn’t finish,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We had our chances, and we didn’t get the kind of shots we needed. There were far too many chances by the wayside.”
What should’ve been a mad scramble to tie the game turned into a circus, as Philadelphia dominated possession in the final minutes and the Sabres were unable to create good opportunities to tie the game.
Thanks to Washington’s victory over Florida, Buffalo is officially eliminated from playoff contention and will finish 9th in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres will miss the postseason for the first time since 2009.
“We did this to ourselves,” Miller said.
- Buffalo’s tentative play for most of the game put them in the spot that in the end did them in. They sat back for most of the game, and it was one mistake that turned into the difference. Dangerous way to play against a team that’s so strong.
- Rough night for the Sabres’ best line of late, as Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno were on the ice for both Philadelphia goals.
- No blame goes to Ryan Miller for this one. While his goals allowed the last few games had taken a bump, Miller was outstanding and made the saves needed to keep Buffalo in position to win. Not on him. Read the rest of this entry
With the Sabres just a few points out of a playoff spot, with more than ten games remaining, the season isn’t over yet. It’d be foolish to think otherwise.
Conversely, with your opponent trailing by a mere one goal with time running out, it’s not over yet. It’d be foolish to leave your head firmly planted inside your ass and let them tie the game before the clock expires. That just happened.
For the second game in a row, the Buffalo Sabres surrendered a tying goal in the waning seconds of regulation, this time off the stick of Colorado’s Jamie McGinn with just 1.6 seconds on the clock. Unlike Monday night, they failed to rebound, falling 5-4 in a shootout.
Buffalo held three separate one goal leads that disappeared. Marcus Foligno opened the scoring just 1:39 into the game. After Colorado tied it seven minutes later, Drew Stafford scored shorthanded to take a 2-1 lead. Colorado would answer with a David Jones goal in the final minute of the opening period.
The Avalanche grabbed their only lead of the night early in the second on a Gabriel Landeskog goal. They led until Marcus Foligno tied it at 3-3 with just under nine minutes remaining in the second.
Alexander Sulzer’s first goal as a Sabre appeared to give Buffalo the lead that would get them to the win, but McGinn’s goal spoiled the night.
Peter Mueller of the Avs scored the only goal in the shootout, as Semyon Varlamov stopped Brad Boyes, Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis to get the win.
Ryan Miller was strong, but not strong enough, stopping 38 of 42 shots for the Sabres, who earn one point but sit three points behind 8th place Washington with 11 games left on the schedule.
- Nice moment for Marcus Foligno, scoring that early goal. It ignited the crowd, and his first jump has been highly anticipated from the time they drafted him. He had a phenomenal game. Scored twice, added three hits and finished +3 in 14:41.
- Speaking of rooks, Brayden McNabb quietly made his return to the lineup after being recalled from Rochester. Needless to say, he looked shaky. Played just 13:17 and looked uneasy. With Myers out for at least the next two games, lets get Andrej Sekera an extra IV or something.
- The Foligno-Ennis-Stafford line was superb tonight. Stafford and Foligno both scored and provided a physical presence. Ennis was Ennis, dancing around the ice and picking up three assists. They looked really good. Unfortunately, their line was the only line that showed up. Read the rest of this entry
In the spot they’re in, the Sabres are going to put themselves into a good spot if they find a way to assert themselves and grab games early. Saturday night in Ottawa, they never led for a second. But they left Canada’s capital with two points.
Erasing a one-goal deficit not once, not twice, but three times, the Buffalo Sabres found a way to win, earning a 4-3 shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators.
Tyler Ennis scored the decisive goal in the shootout.
Buffalo got yet another strong game from Ryan Miller, who made 33 saves, some in spectacular fashion before stopping two of three in the shootout.
Three times Ottawa took a lead, but they were all answered by the Sabres. Nathan Gerbe scored midway through the second to make it 1-1. Ennis tied the game at 2-2 with less than 20 seconds left in the middle period. The clutch goal to send it to overtime was scored by Marcus Foligno, his first career goal in his 2nd NHL game with 5:54 left on the clock.
“It was good to see us get pucks to the net, and we got a couple of nice bounces and that comes from just putting the puck in good areas,” Miller said. “They all count and they were a little bit dirtier. We needed it.”
It was an impressive effort from the Sabres to rebound, as Ottawa capitalized on Buffalo errors to jump ahead throughout the game. A Tyler Myers turnover at the blueline led to Erik Condra’s shorthanded goal. A breakout pass into Cody Hodgson’s skates set up Erik Karlsson’s first goal of the night. The third goal was a lost battle in front that led to Karlsson banking a shot off Miller and in from behind the goal line.
Buffalo now heads home, where they have Sunday off before facing Montreal at First Niagara Center on Monday.
- The most important contract Darcy Regier has to get signed this summer is Tyler Ennis. The much discussed “second contract” is going to be key for the team’s cap situation for the next few seasons. Getting this guy signed for a reasonable rate is important. Injuries have kept his totals down this season, which should help, but Ennis is going to be a star by the time he has to sign his next deal. The most dynamic player in the organization, Ennis could be the team’s #1 center in a few years.
- When Marcus Foligno came up earlier in the season, it was blatantly obvious he was not ready for the NHL. Seems like a totally different player now. I’d prefer to keep him in Rochester longer to continue development unless injuries provoke recalls, but you see why Zack Kassian was expendable. Solid 16 minutes from the rookie.
- The defense is going to have to make a concerted effort to aim for the blade of Cody Hodgson’s stick instead of the blade of his skates. Read the rest of this entry
After all, going into Rogers Centre, facing one of the best teams in the league in their own barn, after needing superb goaltending performances to win in Anaheim and San Jose?
Well, the offense decided to take care of that. Chasing Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo after just 5:10 and sitting on a 3-0 lead, Buffalo again weathered the storm, hanging on for a 5-3 win against the top team in the Western Conference.
Ville Leino scored twice in the opening 3:44 to give the Sabres a two goal lead, but it was a Brad Boyes goal, which had to be confirmed by review after play continuing, that chased Luongo and gave the visitors the cushion they’d never surrender.
“I told Ville after the game he’s a better shutdown guy than he is a scorer,” Ruff said. “Ever since we’ve put him in a shutdown line, he’s played well. I thought Ville played a great game. … He deserved what he got.”
Vancouver made it 3-1 late in the second, but Christian Ehrhoff’s goal early in the third proved to be the game winner. David Booth of the Canucks would add his second of the game to make it 4-2 soon after and former Sabre Zack Kassian scored his first as a Canuck with 2:46 left.
Tyler Ennis added an empty-netter with just over a minute left to seal the deal, and push Buffalo to 3-0-0 on their current four-game western trip.
The difference again was Ryan Miller, who stopped 32 of 35 shots and had his shutout streak stopped at 155:37. He held the fort as the Sabres were outshot 13-6 in the second period and 10-7 in the third.
The win sends Buffalo into Monday’s game in Winnipeg just two points back of the team that was ripped away from Atlanta, who heading into Sunday night’s Capitals/Flyers matchup, sit in the final playoff spot in the East.
- Good for Zack Kassian deciding to show up for the game against his former team and decide to start hitting people. He’s the kind of player who shows up when he wants to, and Vancouver will learn that soon enough. Credited with 7 hits, he now has 16 in three games with Vancouver (5.3 per game). In 27 games with Buffalo, he had 39 hits (1.4 per game). Don’t worry Canucks, he’ll disappear at some point soon.
- Same can be said for Marc-Andre Gragnani. Dude obviously played above and beyond against the team that gave up on him. Threw a whopping three hits against the Sabres, which is as many as he had in his last 11 games for Buffalo combined. If he would’ve played that motivated while he was here, he’d still be here. Was still a -2.
- Rough night for the top line. Jason Pominville finished -3 on the night (a season worst), and Thomas Vanek played just 12:09, just ten seconds more than Corey Tropp’s team low total. Both were held off the scoresheet again. The team’s winning, but man, they’re going to have to turn that around. Soon. Read the rest of this entry
Sure, they were 15 years ago and Dominik Hasek was in net, but it’s the same thing. A Sabres team struggles offensively and their goaltender stands on his face and steals a game. Just like the good old days, right?
A first period Drew Stafford goal was all that Ryan Miller needed to get the surging Sabres another two points, as Buffalo stole a 1-0 win in San Jose.
Miller made 39 stops for his second straight shutout. He was the first star and the story of the night.
“It’s unbelievable to see a guy be this good in net,” forward Tyler Ennis said. “You never think a guy can be that good and make that many saves, but he does.”
The Sabres grabbed the lead thanks to a quick counterattack from the dynamic line of Stafford, Ennis and newbie Cody Hodgson. A turnover in the neutral zone by San Jose’s Brent Burns created a chance for Ennis to find Stafford streaking into the slot, where he blew one past Antti Niemi.
Miller made all the saves necessary to make that goal stand up, include withstanding a third period barrage where the Sharks outshot Buffalo 17-5.
- Was that review near the end of the second period the most unnecessary review ever? The puck wasn’t even close to being in. What a waste of time.
- Really like the whole Ennis-Stafford-Hodgson line already. Fun to watch, they do such a good job keeping possession in the offensive zone. There’s some chemistry there.
- Not too worried about the fact that Thomas Vanek has just one goal in his last seven games. Or that Jason Pominville has no points in the last four, a season worst. The rest of the team is picking it up. Should the goaltending falter and they remain off the scoresheet… then you panic. Wins are wins are wins. Read the rest of this entry
With a national audience watching at home, one could’ve easily argued before the game that the Sabres didn’t deserve the attention. Sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference, Buffalo is far from a marquee attraction, and being a part of NBC’s Hockey Day In America may have seemed unreasonable.
In the end, they knew how to impress a crowd.
The Buffalo Sabres, winless in their last four, jumped on the Penguins early and led for over 59 minutes of the game en route to a 6-2 win in Sunday matinee action.
Early goals by American immigrant hero Jason Pominville and Derek Roy gave the Sabres a lead they would never surrender in the opening minutes. Fargo, North Dakota native Paul Gaustad’s early second period goal, assisted by Oxford, Michigan’s own Nathan Gerbe and Jordan Leopold of Golden Valley, Minnesota, would prove to be the game winner.
Pittsburgh cut the lead to 3-2 before Milwaukee’s best Drew Stafford added an insurance goal. Buffalo pulled away on goals by Derek Roy and a highlight-reel score by Tyler Ennis.
Roy had his first three point night since November, tallying two goals and an assist. Pominville added two assists with his goal, giving him a team leading 57 points.
Ryan Miller, the East Lansing, Michigan product, stopped 24 of 26 shots to get the win.
Buffalo, thanks to a superb effort by the line of Gaustad, Gerbe, and Angola, New York’s Patrick Kaleta, kept Evgeni Malkin, the league’s leading scorer, in check. Malkin had just one assist and won only 2-of-11 faceoffs.
- Tyler Ennis is a restricted free agent this summer. Sign him for as long as you can. Sign him for life. The kid is gonna be a star. That goal was the kind of goal that John Tavares would score and people would drool. He’s got skill, tenacity and is one of the most exciting players to watch.
- Sure, Derek Roy made a great play driving to the net for his shorthanded goal, but holy crap Jason Pominville had an incredible shift. Pominville twice collected passes from the defense and brought them into the zone, only to clear them back to the awaiting defense to kill time. On the rush with the goal, he called for the puck, brought it into the zone and drew two defenders before threading an unbelievably perfect pass to Roy.
- Paul Gaustad had the kind of game that makes contenders drool. A hard working goal, great defensive game, and 16/23 on faceoffs. Sabres can collect quite a haul for this guy. Read the rest of this entry
Here we are.
With only ten days until the NHL trade deadline, the Buffalo Sabres aren’t in the position they expected to be. No one expected this.
Buffalo now sits 15th in the Eastern Conference with 24 games remaining as they dropped a 4-3 shootout loss to Montreal at First Niagara Center on Friday night.
“I’m obviously very disappointed,” said coach Lindy Ruff after the game. “Embarassed.”
Twice in the first period, the Sabres grabbed leads on goals by Robyn Regehr and Tyler Myers. Both were cancelled by the Canadiens, who tied the game 2-2 with under 14 seconds remaining in the opening frame.
A second period goal by Montreal’s Chris Campoli gave the visitors what seemed like the deciding lead, but Tyler Ennis’ goal with just over eight minutes left in regulation was enough to get it to overtime.
Failing to capitalize on a truncated powerplay in overtime, Brad Boyes and Jason Pominville were both stopped by Carey Price in the shootout as Montreal’s Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais sealed the win.
“This is a game we should’ve put away but didn’t,” Ruff said.
Ryan Miller made 16 saves on 19 shots for the Sabres. With Carolina defeating San Jose, Buffalo is tied with the Hurricanes at 55 points, but sits last thanks to tiebreakers.
- Andrej Sekera had a phenomenal game. He was strong and responsible defensively and was a beast in the offensive zone. He made a great play to set up Robyn Regehr in the second period that Regehr couldn’t put away. Sekera was great early in the season, but hasn’t been as good the last couple months. Tonight was a step forward.
- Zack Kassian’s fumbling of that 3-on-1 rush in the second period that preceded the Campoli goal is a sign of a kid who isn’t confident enough to make a play himself or a passive guy being indecisive. The fact he’s a part of this awful team should be worrisome. He’s got a bright future if he develops right.
- The Sabres would have the third pick in the NHL Draft if the season ended today, and a 14.2% chance of winning the lottery to move up to #1 overall. Read the rest of this entry
In place of a traditional “Overreactions” post, which would be extremely tardy, this is 3MI Roadtrip Recap. A mix of what the postgame blogs usually look like and a look into the trip. Hope you like it. If you don’t, feel free to move to the Congo.)
Not often that you get opportunities to see your team play twice in one day. Well, sort of.
Couple weeks ago a buddy of mine alerted me that the Rochester Americans were playing a weekday morning game in Toronto. He suggested we go for the 11am start. Oh, and the Sabres were hosting the Bruins the same night. What are the odds? Luckily, getting a day off work was feasible, and it worked out great. Easy drive Sabres game didn’t start until 7:30. Plenty of time.
So we hit the road early and headed up the QEW to Toronto to see the Sabres’ minor-league affiliate play the Leafs affiliate to start one hell of a day.
Rochester Americans @ Toronto Marlies
Viewed at: Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Amerks have had their struggles with injuries. With Joe Finley out with a lower body injury, facing a Toronto team they’ve had tough games against this season, things didn’t get much better.
Getting an early start in front of thousands of school kids, the Rochester Americans lost 4-3 to the Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum.
Rookie Zack Kassian scored twice for Rochester, who now sits 9th in the AHL’s Western Conference.
Max Legault scored the other goal for the Amerks. David Leggio made 21 saves in the loss.
Rochester struggled offensively for much of the game, generating just ten shots through two periods. Kassian’s second goal came with under four seconds left.
- Kassian looked like the Kassian we know. Wasn’t throwing his weight around, but strong physically and good around the net. He’s not going to be the player everyone wants him to be. He’ll be good though.
- Made an effort to watch Dennis Persson as much as I could. Seems like he’s slowly becoming a bit steadier. His selection was always assumed to be under the intention that he’d grow into a Henrik Tallinder-type, and I can see it. Tallinder took his sweet time developing. Persson is progressing slowly as well. Not ready to say “bust” yet. He was -2 on Wednesday.
- If you’re into roadtrips, I highly recommend heading up to Ricoh for a game. Beautiful little AHL arena. Very intimate environment.
- Travis Turnbull is a guy that can be a mainstay on the Amerks for a few years. A joy to watch. Plays with a lot of intensity and spunk. Had a nice scrap with Toronto’s Kelsey Wilson. Read the rest of this entry