Well, Buffalo Sabres fans . . . during the offseason, I promised to try and have a positive outlook on this, the first season in the Sabres’ rebuilding process.
After tonight’s 0-3 loss to the visiting Vancouver Canucks, my new resolve is being sorely tested.
Let’s start with the silver lining in the cloud that was nearly the entire game: so far this season, the Buffalo Sabres have not been let down by either of their goaltenders. Ryan Miller faced eight shots in just the first two minutes of the game, en route to a final tally of 34 SOG, with Miller making 31 saves. None of the goals that the Canucks scored were softies; they were simply solid scoring chances that were the result of the Canucks’ skill, some bad luck, and very shaky play by the Sabres themselves. Miller has been as good as we all hoped he would be, and so far, he and Enroth are the two biggest reasons to pay to watch the Buffalo Sabres play hockey right now.
Other than that . . . goodnight, everybody!
There’s no sense in beating a dead horse: the Sabres are about as inconsistent team as you’ll ever see in the National Hockey League. On the road, this team has managed to put together some stretches of respectable, competitive hockey. They dominated the defending Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks during the third period. They erased three one-goal deficits on the road against the New York Islanders, playing with energy and passion for a full 65 minutes and during the shootout. In short, the road Sabres got us excited about tonight’s game.
The home Sabres, however . . . well, they are not doing much to make the First Niagara Center an imposing venue to visit. Aside from some individual moments, such as Rasmus Ristolainen’s monster hit on Tom Sestito, I didn’t see any intensity, confidence, or heart from this team tonight, especially after Thomas Vanek beat Roberto Luongo, only have to have the goal waved off. Any desire to compete tonight that may have been lingering among certain Sabres players disappeared right then and there, and the game became a race to the final buzzer sounding.
Make no bones about it, folks: tonight’s game was a stinker, and the Sabres better get their heads screwed on tight by the weekend, or the Colorado Avalanche may take them out behind the woodshed and make them beg for mercy!