The Buffalo Sabres summarized their season last night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. When you only get scoring from your “energy” line – you are not going to compete against teams like Pittsburgh. It was nice to see guys like Grier and Gaustad on the scoresheet, but when they are the only two on the team to put the puck in the net, your not going to win many hockey games. After dropping a 2-0 lead, the Buffalo Sabres failed to win three and a row for the first time this season again. Tonight they have a chance to creep back into the playoff race by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs at home. Thankfully, the Leafs are 0-6 in their last six visits to HSBC Arena.
As much as we like to talk about the Maple Leafs and them being the joke of the Eastern Conference the past few years, they are only four points away from sitting on top of the Sabres in the standings. Just as close to the playoffs, the Sabres are from having another team between them and the second season.
After Paul Gaustad scored just seventeen seconds into the contest, it appeared that a ten day layoff was good for the Sabres. Mike Grier added an insurance goal about ten minutes later to make it 2-0. Grier’s goal was a surprise, as it had the same velocity going into the net as Grier himself has on a breakaway. However it crossed the goal doesn’t matter, as the Sabres had the Penguins on the ropes, and Fleury looked soggy like his cereal after it meets milk.
Despite going into the locker room up 2-0, the Sabres must have used the break between stanza’s to take a nap – because they came out in the second just as flat as can be. The Penguins took advantage of that and used it to crush the hope of a Sabres win. The third period looked slightly different – as the Sabres made the game interesting in front of their new owner Terry Pegula, but fell short of being able to at least sneak a point out of the contest.
The Toronto Maple Leafs pose a different challenge to the Buffalo Sabres, they are close enough that a last effort winning streak could put them in position to make the playoffs. While they stand a chance at making that dash, the odds are bleak for Toronto, but there is nothing that says that can’t try, and act like a spoiler in the mean time.