Overreactions, 24th Edition: Sabres teach new class, call it “Losing To Shitty Teams 101”

Tonight, the New York Islanders moved two points of the struggling Anaheim Ducks for sole possession of the 28th best record in the NHL. They have one team to thank for it: the Buffalo Sabres.

For the second time in five days, the Sabres lost to a team in 15th place in their conference. Blame the injuries. Blame the bounces. Blame the bad luck. Doesn’t matter what you want to blame it on, it all ends in a 2-1 loss.

Jochen Hecht scored Buffalo’s only goal in the third period, as Islanders goaltending Al Montoya was the star of the night, stopping 30 shots in the win.

“He was sound in the net and he made sure there were no good second opportunities,” Roy said. “That’s partly our fault. We have to get to the net a little better.”

Buffalo looked a combination of listless and disjointed, depending on when you were jolted from the slumber induced by the frequently uneventful play. There were brief moments of intrigue, one being Zack Kassian’s first scrap in the NHL with Matt Martin of the Islanders.

Unfortunately, there was more cringeworthy moments to consider than glimmers of quality. Jordan Leopold, arguably Buffalo’s best defenseman over the last few weeks, left with an upper body injury and did not return. An extended five-on-three late in the third yielded nothing. Ville Leino blew a slam-dunk goal that could’ve tied it with just minutes left. A poor effort all around.

Jhonas Enroth finished with 28 saves for Buffalo.

  • The potential loss of Leopold could be devastating. He’s been superb for weeks. While the strong performance of all Amerks being recalled is encouraging, this is a loss from the top of the barrel, not the bottom.
  • Christian Ehrhoff has been playing his best hockey of the season lately. He was on the ice for 32:48 Tuesday night. That’s more than half the game. The guy is a horse. Andrej Sekera was really good too, and made a nice play that led to the Sabres goal.
  • The First Niagara Center continues to be a place where the Sabres don’t play well. The atmosphere is awful on a regular basis, and it seems little effort is being done to change that. The crowd is always dead. The music is habitually awful. Seriously, in a tie game, midway through the third period, what moron thinks “Oh, you know what would get this crowd rocking? The fucking Chicken Dance!” Is this a joke? Seriously. If I would’ve actually paid for my ticket in, I might be even more disgusted with that. Completely embarassing, and in no way should that idiotic behavior be allowed to happen.
  • At some point, can Nathan Gerbe get called out for doing nothing? Hasn’t scored a goal in almost a month, and other than an inspiring effort against Boston last week, hasn’t brought much energy. He was flat out awful Tuesday night.
  • The Ville Leino signing looks worse by the day. The idea of Leino being here for another five seasons after this one is borderline vomit-inducing. He’s been better, but his style is frustrating and the results aren’t there. This guy is supposed to be a key cog. He’s been anything but.
  • Jhonas Enroth made the saves he needed to. Like with any goaltender, it’s all about goal support. If you can rely on a goalie to hold the other team to two goals, you should be able to win a lot of games. Not when the offense is M.I.A.
  • Back on Gerbe, I hate seeing him out killing penalties. The guy is tenacious, puts forth a lot of effort, but I don’t like him being out there when shorthanded. He just doesn’t cover enough ice. The Islanders’ first goal was started when Gerbe got too far into the corner on the PK. He couldn’t get back out to the point, and Mark Streit had plenty of space to take a shot that was deflected in. When you only have four skaters, you gotta have guys that can fill those lanes. The smallest guy in the league isn’t the best option for that.
  • The Sabres have two wins in the last two weeks, both against teams that fired their coaches because they were playing so bad.
  • Brayden McNabb had what may end up being the hit of the season, laying out Frans Nielsen at center ice. Beautiful open ice hit.
  • On the other rookie, Kassian, he’s doing a great job endearing himself to the home crowd. He didn’t need to pick that fight with Martin. He did, and he fed Martin all that he could handle. Still, he’s not ready for full time duty, as evidenced by his poor effort defensively that allowed the Islanders to score the eventual game winner. He’s gonna be pretty good. Let him develop. Don’t keep him up here if you’re healthy.
  • Really missed Corey Tropp tonight. Energy wasn’t being created on the forecheck.
  • Paul Gaustad dominated on faceoffs, but was pretty much invisible elsewhere. He needs to be better.
  • Good for Jochen Hecht to find the net again. When he can provide secondary scoring, he’s a valuable asset. When he’s providing the only scoring, you’re fucked.

Posted on November 30, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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