Entering tonights game against the Colorado Avalanche, the outcome is probably already written on the wall.
The Sabres have gotten little right this season, other than fulfilling their promise of suffering. Colorado enters the game with the lowest goals against average in the league. Meanwhile, Buffalo has scored the least amount of goals in the NHL, with only 11 in 9 games. The Avalanche are off to their hottest start in team history, while the Sabres are off to their worst start in team history, with only one win in 9 games. So, yeah, you can predict where this is headed.
Feel free to check in for reactions after each period…
Well, folks, the game has begun as predicted. Utter ineptitude by the Buffalo Sabres. The guys in blue did not generate their FIRST SHOT on goal until nearly FIFTEEN MINUTES into the game.
By that point, Colorado had already gotten themselves a comfortable 2-0 lead. Tyler Myers continued his new tradition of taking a penalty early in the game. Christian Ehrhoff could not decide whether to play the passer or the shooter on the first Avalanche goal, leaving Ryan Miller out to dry.
Nikita Zadorov looks excited to be playing in his first NHL game. The rest of the Sabres look hapless and unemotional, unmotivated. The team cannot master the art of passing the puck properly. I nearly stood from the mountaintops screaming for the Sabres to try and hire Patrick Roy as their coach, and after tonight, he will have his Avs sitting pretty at 7-1.
The second period had a disastrous start for the Sabres, as the Avalanche began the period on the power play. Just one minute in, and Colorado pushed the lead to 3-0.
Cody Hodgson got the Sabres on the board with an absolute ROCKET, waking up the couple thousand Buffalo fans at First Niagara Center. Yet, a few minutes later, the Avs regained their 3 goal lead, as Ehrhoff and Mark Pysyk decided to watch the game instead of play it. Both stood around the front of the net, watching, as the puck was caromed and passed around in front of Miller.
So, the defensive brain-farts continue for the Sabres. The team DID have more spice and motivation in the second stanza, and shockingly outshot the Avs 11-8 – this following an embarrassing margin of being outshot 14-3 in the first. Nikita Zadorov remains one of the only bright spots in the game, as he has defended well, playing the body instead of the puck, and breaking up a few Avs rushes in the neutral zone.
Whoa! The Sabres actually played their best period of the season!
Unfortunately, the efforts did not result in a win. Marcus Foligno notched a goal to pull the game to 4-2 just one minute in, and Buffalo poured on scoring chances throughout the final period, outshooting the Avalanche 16-4. The Sabres just could not put the puck in the net, and provide that finishing touch.
The Sabres also led in hits, 29-18, and won 52% of their faceoffs. The slow start in the first period doomed the team, and it proved too high of a hill to climb. Although the forwards on the team applied good pressure in the third, the Sabres could have benefitted from more aggressive offensive play by the defensemen. Players like Ehrhoff, Myers, and Jamie McBain needed to step forward late in the game, and did not.
I got a kick out of Mike Weber bloodying up Steve Downie in a fight, and if the Sabres want to win some games this season, they will need to put together three periods of play like they had in the third period tonight. With only one win in 10 games, the team will need more fights like Weber’s, more goals like Hodgson’s, and more energy like Zadorov’s.