Overreactions, 10th Edition: Late lead slips away, Sabres lose

How quickly things can change.

After Jason Pominville’s powerplay goal gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead with just over seven minutes remaining, of all things, a Panthers penalty turned the tide and Florida scored two late goals to sneak away with two points in a 3-2 final.

It was Florida’s Marco Sturm earning a five minute major by boarding Jordan Leopold with 6:45 remaining that elicited a retaliatory minor by Drew Stafford. With the teams skating four-on-four, Nathan Gerbe was called for tripping and obtained an extra minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Sabres killed off the brief four-on-three advantage, but Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann tied the game with both teams a man short.

Just seconds after the major penalty expired, Jason Garrison ripped a shot past Ryan Miller with 1:43 remaining in regulation to give Florida the win.

When asked about Gerbe’s extra minor penalty, Lindy Ruff put it simple.

“Unacceptable,” the coach said in his postgame press conference.

Ryan Miller finished with 33 saves after being peppered by 31 shots in the final two periods. Jose Theodore made 24 saves to get the win.

“We have to wake up and do what it takes to play a system in this league,” Miller said. “You’re not going to get away with making cute plays, you’re not going to be able to carry the puck in…you’re not going to have that luxury. Too many mistakes, myself included. We’re all accountable here.”

Thomas Vanek scored Buffalo’s other goal, as the team falls to 6-4-0 on the season.

  • Mike Weber, we’ll see you Wednesday. The guy has to play. The defense as a whole isn’t playing well enough to merit keeping him out of the rotation again.
  • Offensive zone trainwrecks, defensive and discipline lapses aside, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville both scored. They are now each on three game point streaks, and are both in the top five in the league in points. Leading by example.
  • Credit Drew Stafford for standing up for his teammate. Showing that kind of tenacity earns you respect. But in the game situation, he’s gotta know better to not go over the edge. Get in his face and shove him against the boards. Realize that there’s a penalty coming, especially at that point in the game.
  • The way this game ended isn’t going to do good things for the arguments over Ryan Miller. The first goal he allowed was awful, and he didn’t receive any help on the last two. He made key saves early, but if you don’t finish, people will forget that. I’d expect Enroth to get another start Friday against Calgary.
  • Brad Boyes with another assist, stretching his assist streak to three games. With an increased special teams role, he’s been finding his way to the scoresheet. Confidence is good, and when the puck is going in the net and you’re involved, you gain confidence.
  • Matt Ellis is probably pissed that he can go out and play great and the rest of the team plays like crap. It ruins his record. It ruins his case for a spot in the lineup. Matt Ellis isn’t supposed to lose. He can’t do everything.
  • Myers and Ehrhoff got the assists on the goals, but again, Andrej Sekera stood out as the team’s best defenseman. Ranking the six blueliners on tonight’s performance: Sekera, Ehrhoff, Leopold, Myers, Regehr, Gragnani. Not picking on Grags, and he’s not a scapegoat, but he’s a powerplay specialist at this point. He’s not helping the powerplay. Can he keep a spot in the lineup if he’s not contributing?
  • Nathan Gerbe said after the game that he didn’t swear at the ref. I have a hard time believing an official at that point in the game would call an extra minor if he didn’t. Whether they’re supposed to or not, a lot of officials, in every sport, “manage the game” and change the way they approach a game based on situation. Late in a game like that, it’s going to be merited.
  • The Sabres were giving up 31.4 shots per game heading into tonight and gave up 36 to Florida. Most goalies will be slightly above .900 in save percentage, which is a goal about every ten shots. That’s a good way to allow three goals a game. That’s no good if you’re only scoring two.

Sabres don’t play until Wednesday when they host Philadelphia. Should be plenty of time to stew on this one.


Posted on October 29, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thinking back, I wish Stafford had just dropped the gloves with ’em. Better chance of an offsetting penalty. Blech.

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