2011 NHL Quarterfinals: Game Three

The Buffalo Sabres were outmatched on the ice in games one and two, but managed to come away with a victory, as well as chasing Sergei Bobrovsky from the net in a losing effort (should we have seen Enroth?). 

Tonight the playoffs come back to Buffalo and hopefully the product on the ice remains competitive.  There are several keys to the game that both Buffalo and Philadelphia need to focus on in order to win.  

For the Buffalo Sabres:

  • Take it to the net.  Laviolette is about as uncertain in his goaltending as most people are when looking at a dinner menu with several of their favorites on special. He doesn’t know what to pick and usually changes his mind midway through the meal.  Keeping the musical chairs effort going in the crease will only add to the confusion Philly brings. 
  • Stay out of the box.  I am not going to get myself down to the level where I am going to blame refereeing for the poor showing in the second period of Saturday evenings game.  The Buffalo Sabres played into the hands of the Flyers and the referee’s trying out for the local beer league in Philly called a penalty on us every time we looked a the Flyers wrong.  While the ref’s were epicly horrible Saturday night, you have to be better than that.  You cannot take that many undisciplined penalties and walk away with a win.
  • Shore it up on defense.  You played defense in game one and walked away with a one nothing victory.  You said screw it on Saturday and got into a shootout with the Flyers, only thing is, after a few goals, we were shooting blanks while the Flyers still had some goal left in them. 

For the Flyers:

  • Continue to play stupid hockey.  Not stupid as in moronic, but play your game.  It works for you, and so far the Buffalo Sabres have played right into it, and they have proven they cannot hang in that environment. 
  • Protect you goalie.  While Laviolette plays ring around the rosie with his netminders, you can make the decision easy for him by not letting your goalie get lit up.  I didn’t agree with Bobs getting pulled Saturday – but you know what, it worked and you won. 

One thing I would like to note, and it is another reason to hate Danny Briere, but the Buffalo Sabres forwards could learn a lesson or two from him.  If you look at the goal that went in off his skates, look at the way his skates were angled, any puck that hit him was going to deflect towards the net, whether he moved his feet or not.  The way he was standing was definitely intentional – and legal because he did not make a kicking motion – just another reason that makes him a valuable asset to whatever team he is on.  I am in no way asking the league to look at changing the rule on pucks off skates, it is what it is, but lets work within the system to maybe get another goal or two on the board.

Tags: Bobrovsky Boucher Buffalo Sabres Danny Briere Defense Jhonas Enroth Keys To Game Leighton Philadelphia Flyers Ryan Miller Sergei Bobrovsky

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