The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Tampa Bay Lighting last night and snapped a four game skid, putting up their first win in eleven days.
Don’t get excited though, it means very little. For the Buffalo Sabres to return to a competive hockey club this season, they need to win 20 or so of their remaining games. Pretty tall order for a team that has only won seven of their last twenty games as it is.
The Sabres did last night something they needed to do for their collective psyche – they won a game they had no business winning. I wouldn’t call it embarassing for the Lightning – it was a close game and their record as of late hasnt’ been anywhere close to where they would want it to be.
The giveaways, the second period parade to the penalty box, and the overall lack of on ice communication was almost the demise of the Buffalo Sabres. Apparently the Lightning didn’t get the memo from the New York Islanders, outlast Ryan Miller and pin this team and you have an easy victory. You can’t say they have had enough warning. Only the Boston Bruins should be fearing the Buffalo Sabres – and that is probably to the tune of Boston not giving the Sabres enough credit going into those games.
There is very little positive that should come out of last nights game. Adam Pardy stepped in and played a decent game. In almost 12 minutes of ice time, he had zero shots, zero goals, no assists, but he wasn’t a minus player either. Only three players walked away with a minus to their record last night, and it was the forward, Steve Ott, Tyler Ennis, and Nathan Gerbe.
Thomas Vanek was able to return to the scoresheet. While he didn’t find the back of the net – he got helpers on both the Buffalo Sabres goals. Cody Hodgson was also on a two point night, scoring and getting an assist.
Interim head coach Ron Rolston is now 1-2 in his NHL coaching debut.
The unfortunate thing for the Buffalo Sabres, is the team is going to get hot just enough to miss the playoffs, I can see it happening. Call it the Buffalo curse. We will go from having the chance of selecting 1-3 in the draft, to drafting somewhere in the 1-15 range. You go from getting a draft pick that can impact your roster right away, to getting a guy looks ready but is 2-3 years away.
The Los Angeles Kings set a bad precedence last year by winning the Stanley Cup as the eight place seed. Teams like the Buffalo Sabres who are on the cusp of playoff bound will now try harder to “just get in” the playoffs only to get embarrased in the first round.
Thank you Buffalo – for turning a dreary day into something better by letting us wakeup winners, but I am still not getting my hopes up.