Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Knee Jerk Reactions Vs. Florida Panthers


What a crazy game by the Buffalo Sabres, or at least a crazy first period by the boys in blue and gold. Unfortunately, the frigid cold wasn’t enough to slow down the red hot Florida Panthers as they weren’t tired at all from their win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. There were no late game heroics tonight as the Buffalo Sabres blew two leads in the first period alone on way to another one-goal loss.

The Buffalo Sabres brought it in the first period, but seemed to fizzle out with every goal that got past Miller in the first. In the end their effort just wasn’t enough to pull out the W.

Ryan Miller was certainly not on his game tonight allowing three goals in the first period while blowing two different leads by the Buffalo Sabres in the period alone. While all three goals- or at least two- were deflected, they’re goals that Mr. Olympics’ might want to have back. Hard to fault a goaltender who’s defence is poor with 3 shots deflected right in front of him, but still not the greatest first period by Miller. In the second period his shaky play continued as he failed to properly cover the puck and nearly cost the Sabres another goal. Later in the period Miller dropped too early and was easily beat top shelf. Maybe it’s a little pre-Olympic jitters, but Ryan Miller did not look good tonight.

Drew Stafford is making his late bid for to be an injury replacement for the Olympics as he hits his annual goal scoring streak.

Tonight he notched two beautiful goals to give the Buffalo Sabres a 1-0 and 2-1 lead in the first. Stafford played one of his best games this season, and hopefully this Stafford sticks around.

The offence once again looked good tonight during the first and third period, but they were a little absent during the second period when they lost their steam, but were still present in the end. The offence that was swirling around the net all night managed to net 3 goals for the 4th straight game, the only problem is they don’t capitalize on all their opportunities. There were endless power-plays in which the Sabres couldn’t muster much.

In today’s poll I asked y’all what’s been worse for the Buffalo Sabres this season; the offence or defence, However, after tonight I think it’s clear the defence needs to be better. If you want to blame Miller for the 3 goals in the first period you also have to blame the defence in front of him. The defence appears unable to play the body or box out opponents and time after time Panthers are wide open for the tip or screen in front of the net. Another note on the defence, Mark Pysyk was scratched tonight for being “too young,” yet on the 4th Panthers goal he would have been huge. The defence on the Buffalo Sabres simply doesn’t know how to play defence, which is a big problem.

Props to Steve Ott for netting his 100th career NHL goal tonight when scored the Sabres 3rd goal.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Drew Stafford Knee Jerk

  • Ben Chalker

    Did Omark make the best of his 2nd line opportunity?

    • JHizzle75

      I actually thought he played a good game.

      • Ben Chalker

        Enough to stick around?

        • JHizzle75

          Not too sure , Ben. He’s got some creativity , and I think we are lacking in that department, but who knows how it’s all going to play out ?

    • Jes

      Ya he looked good. Well as good as you can on a team like this. Got himself an assist. Looked better then Leino.

      Hey CC you should have a poll on how many points the readers on here think Leino will get for the final 34 games. It’d be an interesting column I think. Or even a good one for Richard to write seeing it looks like he gave up on that support for Leino thread lol.

      • Caitlin Campbell

        Good idea Jes, just to roughly Rich’s feathers on ole’ Leino I will make that today’s poll. Stay tuned!

        • Jes

          Thanks CC!!

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Omark looked decent on the 3rd line tonight, he’s really rounding into shape under Nolan. He worked hard on the boards and was responsible for I believe the 2nd Stafford goal. Then in the 2nd period Nolan swithced him and Leino again.

  • Kevin

    Defense was pitiful. And believe me there are 29 other starting goalies out there that would have been fooled on those deflections. The D is supposed to help the goalie, not help the opponents. The reason the Offense slowed down was to try and cover up for the Dmen. If the forwards have no confidence in the dmen they won’t take the chances needed to create scoring opportunities. If there is one thing I can’t stand about Nolan is he would rather play a veteran dman that sucks over a young guy that plays solid D. Just stupidly stubborn.

    • JHizzle75

      What was Weber even thinking trying to get his stick in the way of an easy shot from the blue line? I’m pretty sure Miller could’ve handled that shot. Dumb move.
      Pretty sure he deflected the other one past Miller, too.

      • Caitlin Campbell

        If not deflected Miller stops at least 2 of the 4 goals he allowed… Weber is getting on my last nerve back there on the point

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I have two thoughts with Nolan refusing to play the youngsters- it’s good for about the next 2-3 years until Zadorov, Ristolainen, Pysyk and whoever we draft this year along was Jake McCabe and Joel Armia develop into NHL regulars, once that happens Nolan has to go so the rookies can get some actual ice time and the Sabres can be competitive again.

  • Jes

    Red hot Florida Panthers CC? 1-2 in there last 3 before they met us and 5-3-2 in there last 10. Not really red hot. Now CBJ is a red hot team.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Meant red hot because they’re from Florida… I was trying to be punny, guess it didn’t work lol.
      That and they beat the Pens lol I guess my Puns don’t work

      • Jes

        Lol ok CC totally didn’t get that but now u say it it’s funny

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Thank you my puns are making a return!

  • wolfdoctor

    “Another note on the defence, Mark Pysyk was scratched tonight for being “too young,”

    Good one. LOL

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I’m dead serious, that was Nolan’s quote on benching him

      • wolfdoctor

        Wow. I guess Risto, Zadorov and Reinhart/Bennett and the rest of our prospects will be too young for another 2-3 years as well. I guess Nolan wants the young players to be head and shoulders better than the players they will be replacing before allowing them to play.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          I really don’t know how he’s going to play it with our upcoming rookies but I’m worried TBH

  • Harry

    The D is just horrible absolutely horrible. They looked like the Washington Generals playing the Globe Trotters last night (and most nights)

    • Caitlin Campbell

      The D was truly hard to watch last night

    • davidmuscalo

      The D and O take turns – one game the D is terrible, the next game the O is terrible.

  • davidmuscalo

    The Sabres are a mediocre team and, like all mediocre teams, they lack seasoned talent. They lose one game because they lack sufficient offense, then they lose the next game because the defense is ineffective. They seesaw back and forth and they deserve to win the first pick in the draft. It’s not the coach’s fault, it is not Miller’s fault, it is the fault of the individual players who have discovered that if you play in Buffalo, you can receive a very good salary for a minimal effort and still fill the Niagara Center – Stafford is the poster boy who best represents this team attitude. As I see, Murray’s first move should be to begin to change the culture of the team by getting rid of the Staffords’ and replacing them with dedicated players who have a sense of pride in doing their job right each and every shift. Ted Nolan is probably one of the best coaches in identifying that type of player. He should be a real asset to Murray when it comes time to decide which players, besides Stafford, need to be moved out of Buffalo.