Overreactions, 18th Edition: Defense is everything

Jhonas Enroth isn’t perfect after all.

In a rare below-average showing from the rookie sensation, the lack of finishing and lackadaisical defense doomed the Sabres in a 5-3 loss to the New Jersey at First Niagara Center.

The Sabres fell behind early, surrendering two goals in the first 5:21 of the game, and they never recovered. Enroth allowed five goals on 19 shots before being pulled in favor of Drew MacIntyre in the third period, who made two saves.

“It wasn’t good enough,” Enroth said. “I’m very frustrated. A real bad game from my side.”

Buffalo got two goals from Tyler Myers and one from Jordan Leopold. The forwards were quiet as they saw a large number of opportunities skitter just wide of the goal late in the game.

It was Enroth’s first regulation loss since November 24, 2010.

  • Tyler Myers was improved in his first game back after being scratched for Monday’s win. He scored two goals, but defensively, was still incredibly shaky. He made a couple horrible giveaways in the defensive zone, made some questionable passes on the powerplay and frequently got caught deep in the offensive zone on transition. He’s been awful for a good part of the season, and tonight was an improvement, but he’s far from where he should be.
  • I thought Jordan Leopold was the team’s best defenseman tonight. He had a very good game, was solid in all three zones, and got rewarded with a late goal, his fourth on the year. He was calm and made smart decisions. Great game for Uncle Leo.
  • Corey Tropp played a team-low 7:42, but he had a great game. Aggressive on the forecheck, strong on the puck. As long as he’s around, they gotta find ways to get him on the ice more. He’s been good.
  • Bad luck can turn a game. With the game 4-2, if Brad Boyes doesn’t break his stick trying to slam home a shot from the slot, there’s a good chance Buffalo finds a way to knot that game up. But that twig snapped, the puck went the other way and David Clarkson ended up scoring on a breakaway to make it 5-2.
  • Drew MacIntyre now has the best save percentage in Sabres franchise history.
  • Myers’ second period hit on Dainius Zubrus is likely going to get him a suspension. It was a shot to the head, which is a big no-no, and I can’t imagine Brendan Shanahan is going to have any sympathy for any Sabres after the whole Boston thing. He’s probably gonna sit a couple games.
  • I was sitting in the suite level for the game tonight. On my way out, I overheard the following conversation:
    • Young kid: “What are those names?” (looking at the lists of players who wore that number under each suite number)
    • Dad: “Those are famous players who wore that number.”
    • Young kid: “Domenic Pittis.”
    • Dad: “Huh?”
    • Young kid: “Who’s Domenic Pittis?”
    • Dad: “I don’t know.”

    I thought it was hysterical.

  • Martin Brodeur is good. He made some sensational saves. Funny listening to some fans there question the team’s finishing, seemingly disregarding the fact they were facing one of the best goaltenders ever tonight.
  • Mike Weber ended up -2, but other than a couple bad plays, was pretty good. He lost a battle along the boards that created New Jersey’s fourth goal. He wasn’t bad enough to get his seat in the press box back, in my opinion.
  • The Vanek-Roy-Pominville line created a bunch of chances and looked dangerous offensively, but they were all minus on the night, mainly due to that trainwreck of a shorthanded goal they gave up in the first. That line needs to be at least even every night if the team is going to be successful. If they’re gonna load all the offense into one line, they can’t be losing the battle.

Posted on November 17, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Disagree on Weber. If I were Ruff, I’d have him on a one way trip back to the press box. For a defensive defenseman, he’s not that good at defense.

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