The Buffalo Sabres helped prove tonight that maybe the team has matured enough to call themselves a good team.
Good teams find a way to win. Tonight, the Sabres, while looking very lethargic, managed to pull a point out of a shootout loss to a game they had a no business being in. Pheonix, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Anaheim were on the minds of the Sabres tonight. Its too bad they were playing the Islanders.
Ryan Miller had to be brilliant to keep the Sabres in this game long after they decided playing 60 minutes against the tenth place team in the East. Maybe they forgot to look at the out of town scoreboard, because New Jersey lost in regulation, and a win would have tied the Sabres for first place in the Conference.
The Sabres keep their ten point lead over the Bruins, as Boston lost in a shootout at the hands of the LA Kings.
I didn’t see very many Sabres playing with the right amount of energy tonight, slow pucks, slow legs, and the Islanders were able to capitalize on that.
Rick Dipietro didn’t help matters much either. Part of the Sabres game plan is to attack with their defense corp, adding a little more pressure to the forecheck. Dipietro’s ability to play the puck gave the Islanders the advantage, and turned many harmless pucks into odd man rushes.
On top of those worries, the Sabres continued to give the puck up at very bad times.
The Sabres will do well to get out of the gates running on Monday evening against the Coyotes in Pheonix (Mondays game is a holiday game in the desert, a 5:00 PM start time makes it a normal start time here in Buffalo).
Tim Connolly continues to have a career year. He has the longest active point streak in the NHL, with sixteen points in eleven games. With the continued absence of Thomas Vanek on the score sheet, Connolly has been someone to rely on.
Driving into work tonight I heard Brian Koziol of WGR 55o say that Thomas Vanek and Tyler Myers have the same number of points with 26. Great for Tyler Myers, horrid for Thomas Vanek.
Drew Stafford continues his climb to the top of the Sabres scoring list after watching from the press box as a healthy scratch, he is now tied with Vanek for the team lead in goals. I have hinted at wanting to see Vanek in the press box for a game or two to see him snapped out of whatever funk is ailing him – when do you wait to do that? After Stafford surpasses him?
Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn was on WGR 550 the other day with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog and said that the Sabres are willing to do anything this year if the Stanley Cup is within the realms of possibility. He then said that no one, outside of Ryan Miller, is really safe. If the Sabres can continue to win without Thomas Vanek on the score sheet, would it be out of the realm of possibility that the Sabres unload his contract to bring in a big named goal scorer that might help the team offensively more? Trading Vanek is probably the last thing on Ruff or Regier’s mind, but you have to wonder why he is not in Ruff’s doghouse more often.
This does have to be one of the worst efforts by a staff of officials that I have seen in awhile. Missed calls, blown calls, and stupid calls were the M.O. of the evening for the guys in stripes – benefiting both teams, but for a time favoring the Isles.
Derek Roy mowed over Rick Dipietro and wasn’t whistled for a call. Park’s goal was called back because of interference – Miller said he got lucky with that call and Sutton didn’t agree with it. Thankfully for the Sabres they did not delay the faceoff too long, Toronto had no time to weigh in on the goal, which would have probably been overturned.
The Sabres will travel tomorrow and reload to face a suprisingly surgent Phoenix team looking to build on a great start to a season of uncertainty turned solid with the team coming out of bankruptcy court with a new owner. The Sabres can definitely relate to the problems the team is having; but want the sympathy to end their – they will definitely be looking for a win. So far they have managed 3 out of 4 points, and will continue to look to get as close to 14 for the road trip as possible.
Tags: Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Champions Conference Division Drew Stafford Eastern Hockey John Tavares Los Angeles New Jersey NHL Northeast Division Park Pheonix Coyotes Rick Dipietro Ryan Miller Sabres Stanely Cup Stanley Cup Playoffs Sutton Thomas Vanek Tim Connolly Tyler Myers Vancouver