Anyone who watched last night’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Islanders had to be wondering: would the Sabres’ offense show up tonight when they hosted the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center? Or would it be another lackluster performance that put the weight of the world on the shoulders of Ryan Miller?
After yet another head-scratching no-show by the offense of the Buffalo Sabres, the Boston Bruins waltz out of town with a 3-1 victory, while the Sabres are left to explain how they could possibly only push one goal past Boston’s backup goaltender, Anton Khudobin.
You would have thought that Lindy Ruff and his staff would have threatened his team with death by firing squad, or something equally drastic, after the effort his team displayed in Long Island. Well, if the coaches did threaten the players, you could not tell, because Buffalo was outplayed from buzzer to buzzer in this one. At no point did I ever feel like the offense was going to put the biscuit in the basket; the Sabres just never got any meaningful pressure on Khudobin. The 26 shots on goal the Sabres registered is pretty misleading, since it makes it seem as if their offense was better than it had been against the Islanders. Yeah – and standing next to my two year-old makes me seem as if I’m tall. Even though the Sabres had less SOG last night, they had better scoring opportunities, and they capitalized on them. Tonight, they had next to no real chances to score a goal. Tyler Ennis had the best of the night, after Drew Stafford set him up for an easy top shelf goal against a defenseless Khudobin. Other than that, those 26 SOG never amounted to diddly boo, as my father used to say.
The lone bright spot in tonight’s game was the play of Ryan Miller. Just think, Sabres fans: you have a Hart Trophy candidate in Thomas Vanek, and the way Miller is playing, he could be fighting for the Vezina Trophy, as well. If only this team could get some consistent play, night in and night out. Watching the game, all I kept thinking was, “There’s no way we should even be this close.” Miller did everything he could, just as he did last night, and the last time the Sabres went up against Boston. Tonight’s loss will be given to him, but clearly through no fault of his own.
I leave Buffalo disappointed, and still waiting for the team to develop an identity other than the “We’re praying Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller save our butts every night” one we’ve been seeing far too much of this year.
Check back in a little bit for Tim’s full game recap! And as always, leave me your comments below, or follow me @theaveragedick!