Overreactions, 27th Edition: Grag reflex

It’s enough to make you sick.

With the memories lingering of Philadelphia’s last visit to First Niagara Center, where the Flyers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, the Buffalo Sabres made a concerted effort to make sure that didn’t happen Wednesday night. It didn’t. In fact, it was the opposite.

Unfortunately, a 3-0 lead wasn’t enough to get the win, as Buffalo let an early advantage slip away en route to a 5-4 overtime loss. Early goals by Ville Leino, Zack Kassian and Thomas Vanek were cancelled by Philadelphia before the end of the second period, and it was a goal by Drew Stafford with just 1:35 remaining in the 3rd that saved them from walking away empty handed.

Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux ended the game midway through the extra period, as he intercepted a careless pass by Marc-Andre Gragnani in the Flyers’ end and beat Ryan Miller on the breakaway.

“I’ll take the blame for that,” Gragnani said. “If I saw him, I wouldn’t try that pass.”

Ryan Miller made 29 saves in the loss.

Buffalo seemed to be in complete control early. They a force offensively and a force physically. They responded in kind to dirty play by the Flyers. Joe Finley jumped Zac Rinaldo in the first period after he threw a high hit on Tyler Ennis. Corey Tropp later scrapped with Rinaldo after he backed away from Finley.

In the second period, it was Matt Ellis going after Flyers’ defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon after he buried Nathan Gerbe into the boards from behind. Gerbe would be knocked out for the game, and his future status is uncertain. Lindy Ruff indicated after the game that he’d expect supplemental discipline for the hit.

The Sabres have now won just one of their last seven at home.

  • Good for Ville Leino. The goal was a beautiful effort from that Kassian-Leino-Adam line, which was solid.
  • Speaking of Kassian, whenever you wanna grab #19, go ahead Zack. You should be sticking around a bit.
  • Marc-Andre Gragnani deserves to be benched for that atrocious decision in overtime. Unfortunately for everyone except whoever the Sabres play, Buffalo has no options and can’t sit him down. They need to get healthy. When they do, Marc-Andre’s status in the lineup should be considered tenuous.
  • The powerplay was quietly 2-for-4 and the penalty kill was able to survive the only shorthanded chance from the Finley penalty in the first. Special teams like that should win you games.
  • Rough night for Brayden McNabb. -3 on the night, some awful giveaways, and overall not a great effort. Luckily for him, he wasn’t first on the defensive shitlist thanks to Marc-Andre.
  • Corey Tropp was a -2, but I can’t imagine too many fans would be complaining about his game. He threw some bombs in his scrap with Rinaldo, and brought a good amount of energy. With Patrick Kaleta still out, Tropp’s responsible for getting some momentum going. He’s done a fairly good job at that.
  • Congrats to Thomas Vanek for breaking his season-long two game point drought. Usually the goals come in bunches for Vanek. I’d be alright with a hat trick this weekend.
  • Noticed the Sabres did a new intro video. Better, but it still doesn’t work. Just because you use an AC/DC song doesn’t mean it’s gonna get people pumped up. You need something with energy. “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” just doesn’t have energy. It’s too slow.
  • I just need to point out again here how awful of a play that Gragnani turnover in overtime was. Awful.
  • A very peculiar crowd at First Niagara Center tonight. The secondary ticket market was incredibly weak for such a marquee opponent. Apparently no one wants to pay to see the team lose. Which is all they’ve been doing at home.
  • Jason Pominville had another good game, and picked up two assists. The captain has 29 points in 27 games.

So now there’s just one thing left to ask: How are they gonna blow the game Friday night?

Posted on December 8, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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