Not-So Knee-Jerk Reaction: Game 4

I made sure to reign in how much my knee jerked on this one, because the Sabres won and I was feeling celebratory…but I definitely didn’t love what I saw. In an effort not to sound like a bitter fan that berates his team even when they win, I wanted to take a little extra time, calm down the excitement, and make this reaction more thought out. Here we go…

  • Alright, the series is reset! Despite anything negative I have to say below, this Sabres team was able to do what last year’s couldn’t: get back in the series after losing control. Last year the Sabres won the first game, then the Bruins won three straight before Buffalo could manage another win. It was bleak and most people knew the chances of forcing a Game Seven were slim. That did not repeat this year and so far we can at least say that this Sabres team is a step forward in the post-season…even if that step is just one game.
    Myers and Miller make the save!

    Myers and Miller make the save! (from NHL.com and Getty Images)

  • There’s a lot of “should they or shouldn’t they” regarding Derek Roy, if he can be healthy in time, coming back into the lineup. Many folk are concerned that he would hurt team chemistry, and at the beginning of this series I would agree. But right now, this team’s offense is so incredibly pop-gun that I wouldn’t care about the chemistry. If he’s 100%, bring him in.
  • Ryan Miller looked really, really good. Like, he looked like a goalie you would sign for a crazy amount of money if he could be consistent in it. I’m not about to start a love fest for Miller, because I still feel like we could be up 3 games to 1 if he had showed up near that much in games 2 or 3. For everything I always hear about playoff series being won by “hot goaltenders,” let’s see if Miller can stay hot. Last time he went from a shutout to letting in five…how about we try for another good night, Millsy?
  • As good as Miller looked, this pissed me off. Who leaves DANNY BRIERE that wide open in front of the net?
  • That 5 minute power play was absolutely pathetic. Anybody who says the fans were wrong for booing 3 minutes into it needs to have their head examined.
  • Regarding the above, a friend of mine addressed Jason Pominville’s criticism of the booing crowd: “Last I checked, the fans have showed up for all four games, especially the 2 in Buffalo, and in the cold to stand outside the arena no less, whereas Pominville has shown up in only one game.” Nice goal, Jason…get off your high horse and play some more hockey.
  • Some great whining coming out of Philly about Richards getting 5 minutes for elbowing Kaleta. Do I think he deserved a 5-spot? Nah. But I am appreciating the hilarity it’s created:
    • “I think (Richards) was just protecting himself becse you never know what Patrick Kaleta is capable of,” Kris Vertseeg said. “He is a dangerous player out there when it comes down to it.
      • I might be a bit of a homer here, but how many people has Kaleta injured with his hits? Calling him dangerous is an exaggeration…he might bruise and punish people by throwing his body at them a lot, but it’s not like he’s a cheap shot artist. Dangerous? Stop being a nancy, Kris.
    • Yes, the Comcast commentators seemed to choke on their cheese steaks over it. Whatever. I can’t say Rick and Harry aren’t biased toward the Sabres.
    • Definitely not right: referee Francois St. Laurent refused to offer Richards (the team captain) an explanation for why it was a 5 minute penalty. That’s absolute garbage and Laurent needs to be replaced for the remainder of this series.
    • Final thought: I’m sure the bitching and crying would be worse if the Sabres didn’t completely squander 5 minutes of the Flyers captain being in the box. Nice job, boys.
  • Myers looked fantastic. He saved a goal, he hit people, and he stood up for his goalie near the end by literally dragging Mike Richards about six feet across the ice.
  • This series is now best of 3, going back down to Philly. Hey, the Sabres have now shut out the Flyers in both buildings (by the way, this is the first time the Sabres have had 2 shutouts in a series since 1994). Go do it again.
  • Finally, that was a great game by Rob Niedermayer, and Mike Grier has been a hitting machine. I’d be fine with signing one or both of them on the cheap and keeping them in Portland, if possible, until the playoffs next year. It’s not a bad idea…I happen to think that Mark Parrish being in Portland this season helped the young players. Mancari, Gragnani, and the other call-ups have looked better than our call-ups in previous years. Having a veteran down there is a great benefit.

Tags: Buffalo Buffalo Sabres Derek Roy Drew Stafford Eastern Conference Fansided Hockey Jason Pominville Lindy Ruff NHL Northeast Division Philadelphia Flyers Portland Pirates Ryan Miller Sabres Stanley Cup Stanley Cup Playoffs Tyler Myers

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