The Buffalo Sabres started the home portion of their – home season much better than they did last year. Last year the New York Rangers controlled the game en route to an easy victory for the blue shirts. This year, the Sabres got the jump on the Carolina Hurricanes – score two really nice goals. It appeared that the offense success the team found in Europe was going to carry over to the North American game.
Then the Hurricanes got on the board with a lucky bounce that Miller had no chance on. Slowly but surely, the game slipped away from the Buffalo Sabres for the same reasons the Buffalo Sabres lost many of their games prior to the change of the calender last year.
Last season the Buffalo Sabres allowed 12 short handed goals; tonight they surrendered two, and it could have been more. Despite looking all-world in goal while in Europe, Ryan Miller looked tame in net tonight.
I don’t want to take Carolina out of the equation, they stayed in the game where they could. Cam Ward stood on his head and made some great saves to keep the Canes in the contest. Without Ward in the net the Sabres could have easily run the score up early and taken their opponent out of the game.
The Sabres were also the recipient of some very bad calls. The Vanek tripping penalty was not a trip, Vanek was going for the puck, the Cane’s player felt the stick, went down and got the call. Pominville’s penalty early could have easily been a minor penalty for both team, it was Pominville’s fault the players were tied up the way they were, but his stick was unceremoniously ripped from his possession in order to get the call. Erhoff didn’t take down anyone on that final play that sent him to the box, he put his stick down to play the puck and it was skated into. Its not excuses, its facts – but your a professional, if your going to win games, you have to overcome adversity, be it your opponent or a bad call. Further proof that if your last name is Skinner or Staal, your going to get calls. That is something that Buffalo lacks – we have no one on the team that has the power with the officials to get a call.
You can’t win them all. The Buffalo Sabres did not take care of the puck the way they did in Europe. The first two games of the season the Sabres commanded the other teams. Tonight, they let things unravel and a credit to the Canes, they hung in their long enough to take care of the Buffalo Sabres.
If you hit the rewind button on last season, there were two fatal flaws that continued to hamper any early success by the team – allowing short handed goals, and their inability to maintain momentum when they score. Allowing two short handed goals tonight, and allowing the Hurricanes to put the puck in the net very quickly after they scored themselves killed any momentum the Sabres may have had.
The Buffalo Sabres failed to show up for sixty minutes tonight, and it cost them two points.
You dwell on the loss to long, and it turns into another. The Sabres have no time to get down on themselves, after christening First Niagara Center with a loss – its on the road for four. So far, the road has been kind to Buffalo, lets hope that continues.