Just when you thought it was safe to start thinking playoffs again. We had just come off two sound victories where it looked like the Buffalo Sabres may have turned a corner. Two games in a row, the Buffalo Sabres faced playoff bound teams – and won. They took the Montreal Canadiens to overtime – and Nathan Gerbe’s new found style of play got them a power play in overtime – that Jason Pominville capitalized on. It looked like the free point offering would continue as Nathan Gerbe tied the Boston Bruins just two nights ago midway through the second period. Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville each added a goal to ensure the Sabres two points and the Bruins none (the same combination of players that ensured victory against Montreal).
Last night the New York Islanders rolled into town and it looked like finally, the Buffalo Sabres might string three games together. Well for the first time in nine games the Islanders were the first team to score, and despite there status as one of the worst teams in hockey year in and year out, they have managed to score 10 goals on the Buffalo Sabres in two games – this time successfully chasing Ryan Miller at just about the midway point of the first period.
The only Buffalo Sabres to want to play offense did so in span of .05 seconds, coming in fourth on the NHL’s fastest two goals list (tied) – as once again Nathan Gerbe was the best Sabres on the ice, something that has been recurring a lot lately.
New York took advantage of the Buffalo Sabres, who scored 5 goals without the help of Tavares. All the Buffalo Sabres had to do was come out early, get a quick lead, and step on the throat of the Islanders and they would shrink into the night enroute to an easy win for the Buffalo Sabres. It was New York though that compiled the early lead and was content to sit back and wait for Buffalo to give them the game.
Yet again, the winning stops at two, and the path to the playoffs doesn’t get any easier. Oh, there is still time, but after a repeat performance against the Islanders, its a wonder if its worth worrying about the playoffs, the Sabres can’t string enough wins together against multiple teams let alone have the ability to win four out of seven against one team. Due to a quirk in the schedule the Sabres have yet another chance to try and fix things against the New York Islanders in January, as they play them for the third time in nine days on Sunday afternoon. If it wasn’t empty enough the first time, the afternoon tilt on Sunday will be competing with the NFLs AFC/NFC title games – so not only will Nassau Coliseum be empty, but television ratings for the game can’t be that great either. Maybe its a good thing for Sabres fans that they have division championship football to fill their void with on Sunday, I for one would probably have to scoop my eyes out if I was forced to watch another performance of that nature.
Back to last nights game, there is no doubt in my mind that Ryan Miller will continue to start and add to his 24 consecutive starts after watching Patrick Lalime add another loss to his stat sheet. If the Sabres were desperate for points before, now they have to be at a premium.
Tags: AFC Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Chicago Bears Division Titles Green Bay Packers Nassau Coliseum Nathan Gerbe New York Islanders New York Jets Nfc Patrick Lalime Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Miller Tavares Tim Connolly