The Buffalo Sabres battled the New York Islanders at home in what was Ron Rolston’s second game in command of this struggling Sabres team. This is the first time Sabres’ fans have seen someone else besides Lindy Ruff behind the bench in Buffalo since 1997.
The last time these two teams played, the Sabres stole a win from the Islanders courtesy of Ryan Miller’s brilliant play in net. Looking to end their three game losing streak and get their season heading in a different direction, the Sabres failed to get on the board at all tonight getting embarrassed by a score of 4-0.
Brad Boyes returned to the ice in Buffalo for the first time since he was let go by the Sabres last season. He tallied an assist tonight for the Islanders.
The first period of play remained deadlocked at 0-0 as neither team gave up any ground. It looked as though the Sabres were still getting a feel for Rolston’s style of coaching on the ice tonight with not much change in place for Buffalo. The Islanders opened the door with two penalties during the period but Buffalo could not capitalize as their powerplay woes continued into tonight’s game.
The play in the second period was much like the first, characterized by a goalie show on both ends of the ice. The Sabres went on the man-up advantage 2 more times during the period, but continued to struggle failing to find the back of the net. Buffalo generated multiple chances throughout the period, but Evgeni Nabokov was on fire tonight stopping every sabres chance thrown his way.
The Islanders opened up the scoring with just over two minutes left in the second period on a Sabres defensive breakdown that allowed the Islanders captain, Mark Streit, to slip by Weber and bury it on a feed from Matt Moulson.
Just over a minute later the Islanders added to their lead capitalizing on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Chrisitan Ehrhoff could not break up the play as Mark Grabner got it past Ryan Miller to put the Islanders up 2-0.
To add insult to injury, the Sabres ended the period with a penalty and were forced to start the third a man down.
The rest of the game was all New York. The Islanders continued to pour it on in the third as John Tavares netted another for New York making the Sabres’ defense look absolutely foolish in their own zone.
The islanders added a powerplay goal late in the game to give them a total of four goals on the night.
Boo’s rained down from the fans in First Niagara Center throughout most of the game tonight. This fan base in Buffalo clearly has had enough with this struggling squad of underachievers.
At this point, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re just not good this season. All the “talent” that’s said to exist on the Sabres this year; I’m just not seeing it anywhere. There are moments of hope here and there where the team looks to be on the verge of breakthrough, but then they come back the next night and look like a team with no chemistry anywhere on the ice. They don’t skate with any intensity and just go through the motions on their shifts.
As a fan, it’s beyond frustrating watching your team struggle game in and game out and not demonstrate any improvement, and as a writer, its tiring writing about the same lackluster performance on the ice night after night for Buffalo.
One thing that really surprised me was the lack of attention paid to the coaching chance in Buffalo. Tonight was Ron Rolston’s first home game behind the bench in Buffalo, and nothing was said or mentioned before the game about Rolston as the replacement or acknowledging Lindy Ruff’s coaching career with Buffalo. I think the organization really dropped the ball with this.
I’m starting to feel bad for Ryan Miller. His magnificent play in net for Buffalo most nights gets overshadowed by the rest of team’s inability to get it done on the scoreboard. Tonight’s game marked his ninth start in a row for Buffalo as they continue to ride his shoulders this season. Although he let in four goals tonight, two of them could have been easily prevented with a better presence on defense for Buffalo. His frustration got the best of him as he got in the middle of a scrap late in the game, dropping the gloves and going after Matt Martin who had him in a headlock.
Props to Nabokov in this one. He was incredible to watch in net for New York turning aside every single scoring opportunity generated by the Sabres. He stopped all 35 shots put on by the Sabres tonight and earned the shutout for his team as well as the first star of the night.
Did anybody else check out Brad Boyes‘ stats this year? Where were these points last season for us?
The Sabres are sinking fast, looking like one of the worst teams we’ve seen in Buffalo for a long time. I firmly believe that Lindy Ruff wasn’t the major issue in Buffalo, it’s the players more than anything right now and that starts with Darcy Regier. There’s no question it will take time for Rolston’s style of coaching to make an impact with the team, but only time will tell if it results in anything positive.
-Alexander Sulzer went down in the second period and did not return for the rest of the game. In the post game press conference, Rolston says his status is unknown right now
-Sabres went 0-5 on the powerplay tonight. They are now ranked dead last in the league on the powerplay with a whopping 11.3%
This train-wreck of a team heads to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lighting this Tuesday.