Sometimes all it takes is a win. Good teams get up for them. The Buffalo Sabres consistently play down to their opponent, and are in hole before they knew what hit them.
After their offense exploded with the help of Drew “Golden Stick” Stafford for the first part of the year – they have since gone into hiding and expected Ryan Miller to once again carry them to a victory. Problem is, Ryan Miller isn’t at the top of his game this year, and you have to score at least one goal in order to let your goalie with the game for you.
The Buffalo Sabres were shutout by a desperate St. Louis team trying to stay in the very closely knit Western Conference playoff race. The Sabres should have been desperate as well, knowing that a win could propel them into the top eight in the Eastern Conference. If it wasn’t bad enough that the Sabres couldn’t control their own destiny, the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Philadelphia Flyers – so they are now four points ahead of the Sabres.
For fans interested in talking about the playoffs, it is still within the realms of possibility – despite being behind on points we are two or three games fewer than any of the teams that are in front of us.
The Sabres need to worry not only about the teams in front of them, but also the teams behind them, as Toronto, Atlanta, Florida, and New Jersey are all within striking distance of the playoffs now as well. Darcy Regier as told the media that the mantra is going to be buy rather than sell for the trade deadline – and as the transition from ownership is finally complete, the Sabres are still behind the eight ball in the trading aspect, as Boston has gotten involved in a couple of moves. The complexity of the division is changing – and it is interesting to see teams interdivision making trades like that. (Toronto sends Kaberle to Boston). The purchase/sale of the Buffalo Sabres is complete, and we are expected to meet Terry Pegula as the new owner on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. That gives him, counting today eight days to start changing the shape of this team from Quinn/Golisano to Pegula. I ran a poll on Sabrenoise.com several weeks ago when the sale was being announced, and many people – knowing that change is coming – would be happy with a three year turn around. I would buy into that, as long as good hockey decisions were made along the way.