Knee Jerk Reactions - 11/02/2011


Playing the Philadelphia Flyers is never an easy game, they are team loaded for boom, and are going to be a contender this year, and for several years in the very near future. You should just get use to that being a fact.  For a team that is trying to crack the code to winning at home, tonight’s start was not what the doctor ordered.

Sean Couturier scored at 1:43 in the first, followed by James Van Riemsdyk at 1:56.  That was just the first two minutes.  Before the game could get past the 6.30 mark, Hartnell made it 3-0 and Patrick Lalime Ryan Miller made his way to the bench for Jhonas Enroth.   Once Enroth took control of the crease, the Sabres were able to turn their game around and crawl back to within one of the visiting Flyers.  It was all they could muster however, and the Sabres still struggle to find win number two at home this year.

It’s only the first game in November, there is still a long way to go before our position in the standings matter, but headed into tonight we were looking up at six teams in the Eastern Conference.  Thankfully, the only other Eastern Conference team to pick up points tonight were the Toronto Maple Leafs, who continue to be the hottest team in the Northeast division, a title we were really hoping to be slapped with coming into this season.  Reactions to tonights game – yeah I have a few.

  • Ryan Miller.  Why are we still starting him the majority of the games.  Great he is our anointed number one guy, but he hasn’t been playing that way.  Tim Thomas is the number one guy in Boston, and he lost his job two seasons ago to Tuukka Rask.  How did he respond?  With a Vezina, a Conn Smythe, and a Stanley Cup.  With no pressure from Jhonas Enroth as the starter, Ryan Miller will continue to bring his game to the rink and we will continue to struggle in games like tonight.  I am not saying that he is completely at fault for tonights loss, but when your team comes out with no legs, you want your goalie to be sharp enough to hold you in the game.  Miller looks more like Miller and less like Patty Lalime tonight, and the Sabres might be skating off to a different outcome.
  • Jhonas Enroth.  There is only one thing to say about the kid tonight, he has EARNED the start against Calgary.
  • Jason Pominville.  Hey buddy, its great that you have gotten out to a great personal start with all these points you are putting up, but Lindy should not be the only motivator on the bench when your team is playing like its still the preseason.  I know its not your style but some of these guys might wake up if you actually stood up and got in their face and told them whats up.

My next two points are about guys who I expected to have better games tonight.

  • Mike Weber busted his ass out there on the ice tonight.  He left it all out there.  I saw passion, emotion, and love for the game.  What I didn’t really see was the anger of being benched since the start of the regular season.  your first game in after how many nights in the press box and you can’t prove that you belong in the lineup?  I know its only a one game sampling, but I would still consider Gragnani and Webere interchangeable in the lineup at this point.
  • Ville Leino.  Your first game back against your old team; and your barely noticeable.  Your pulled from center ice once again.  There are not many spots on the third and fourth line left open for your salary.  Next stop for Mr. Leino if he can’t get his game together should be the press box.  If were not going to use him at center, and he’s not going to produce, I say give Kassian and Foligno a little reward with a two or three game call up.  We have that luxury with the Amerks back in the fold.

Thomas Vanek is the heart of this team at this point.  After sitting out much of the game because he was taking abuse after abuse in front of the Flyers net, he comes out to spark what could have been a Buffalo comeback.  He can’t do it all alone though.

Up next for the Buffalo Sabres is a Friday night tilt with a Western Conference foe, the Calgary Flames.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Calgary Flames Jason Pominville Jhonas Enroth Luke Adam Mike Weber Patrick Lalime Philadelphia Flyers Ryan Miller Scott Harnell Ville Leino