The Sabres lost a hard fought battle for 8th place tonight against the Winnipeg Jets. The game was a fast paced affair and relatively even until a third period break away goal by Blake Wheeler. After that the Jets (excuse the horrific pun) took off. That break away goal was the difference in the battle for 8th place. Bryan Little walked away from the game with three assist, making him the first star of the game.
I can’t be too upset with the Sabres after this game. This was the final touch in a horrific road trip that included the best team in two conferences, a perennial Western Conference heavy weight, the desperate Ducks and finally the Jets. Playing the Jets at home is a horrific affair, and I couldn’t imagine the jet-lagged Sabres were in any shape to compete with the speed, energy, and power the Jets showcased through the entire game.
The Sabres hung in it for two and a half periods, thanks to good defense, solid goaltending and a goal by Corey Tropp as the second period waned. By the third period though, the Sabres looked dead and the Jets (and their crowd) were firing on all cylinders. They just couldn’t hang on. In the end the Sabres were out-shot, out-hit and out scored losing the game 3-1. The Sabres are now four points out of eighth place.
Notes of concern: The Sabres passing was awful. A lot of no look passes, bouncing pucks and turnovers do not translate to a successful game. The Sabres top line is in a collective slump (I blame Derek Roy, because at this point, what Sabres fan doesn’t blame Derek Roy for almost everything. Right now he could take the blame for a bad grade or a job poorly done from a Sabres fan, and most fans, especially the WGR screamers wouldn’t bat an eye). CoHo still does not have a point. That sucks. There was no offensive spark and it looked like the boys in Blue and Gold were being pushed around quite a bit. The Sabres did not capitalize on back to back power plays. Tyler Ennis has forgotten how to shoot and was humiliated by Ruff and that strange bald thing known as Pierre McGuire on national TV afterwards. This seemed like a must win and we did not, our playoff push has now gotten much tougher.
Positive Notes: The fourth line continues to produce. Tropp finally scored again, here’s to many more and hopefully against teams other than the Jets. Miller played solid, continuing to prove to Sabres fans that he is probably a better than average goalie, even after months of the News and WGR saying otherwise. Our road trip ended with a 3-1-1 record which I think is pretty damn impressive. Tyler Myers is continuing to play more physical, continuing on the road to a dominant defense man. Our next game is against the lowly Carolina Hurricanes and it is in the friendly (and sometimes shockingly quiet) confines of the F’N Center.
Random Notes: I do not like Winnipeg’s new jerseys (this is old news but I thought to make it more public). Winnipeg has great fans that I find horribly obnoxious on television. One of the biggest chants of the night was “Silver Medal” at Ryan Miller. It is worth noting that Lindy Ruff was an assistant coach for Canada, so there is a gold medal there too. Winnipeg is the second city from Western Canada to take a team from Atlanta. The Sabres have never won three games in a row in the Pacific time zone until this trip. I really do not like watching games on NBCSN but that is also the best way for me to see the Sabres, due to living outside of Buffalo. The Sabres are now 30-28-8.
Late night/early morning jamz: Listen to a sad guy complain about Winnipeg while you are still bitter!