Overreactions, 30th Edition: Strong start subsides, Sens slip past Sabres

Strong starts have been finding a way to fade lately at First Niagara Center. Less than a week after blowing a first period lead to Philadelphia, Buffalo found a way to do it again.

Despite allowing an early goal, Buffalo was dynamic through most of the first period, generating good opportunities and heading to the locker room with a lead. As we’ve seen recently, those leads tend to get away.

Drew Stafford left Senators defenseman Jared Cowen alone in front to put the puck past Ryan Miller 45 seconds into overtime to hand the Sabres a 3-2 overtime loss.

Miller was strong for Buffalo, making a season high 41 saves.

Buffalo got goals from Paul Szczechura and Tyler Ennis. Szczechura’s was his first in a Sabres uniform.

Now, Friday approaches as the Sabres conclude a five game homestand with exactly one win so far to show for it. Up next is the Toronto Maple Leafs, two points ahead of Buffalo.

  • Tonight was the kind of game that I was expecting from Zack Kassian when he got the recall. Used his body well, did alright in the offensive zone, and didn’t throw his weight around. That’s how his game has always come across to me. He’s been playing atypical of that lately, but he was back to what I’d assume is his old self tonight. Credited with zero hits on the night. Hell, even Gragnani got credited with a hit.
  • Mike Weber was really good in his return to the lineup. Tied for the team lead with three hits and was overall strong for his 16:31 on the ice. With the way some other guys have been struggling and Myers still on the shelf, Weber just needs to play well and he should stay in the lineup for a while.
  • Marc-Andre Gragnani was completely ineffective as a 12th forward. He did get a lot of minutes on the powerplay (3:39) but his lack of use at even-strength renders the viability of him in this capacity to a minimum. Guy needs to sit down for a game or two.
  • Ville Leino, your key offseason addition down the middle: 14:49 TOI, -1, 1 shot and a solid 1-for-10 on faceoffs. By the way, Tim Connolly, who everyone ran out of town out of sheer stupidity, scored two goals tonight for Toronto.
  • Paul Szczechura got rewarded for a great effort with a goal. The guy has been good and is going to be a key part of the team’s depth looking towards the spring. Unfortunately, the fringe NHLer is currently centering the team’s top line. Buffalo is 3-4-3 in their last 10 games, eight of which at home. There’s something wrong with this picture.
  • Through three games between the teams this season, Daniel Alfredsson has 0 points in two games played. Coming into tonight, he was averaging a point-per-game career against Buffalo. Nice to not hear his name.
  • Does anyone want to argue that Christian Ehrhoff shouldn’t have fought Colin Greening at the end of regulation? Should he not challenge Greening, he’s likely on the ice in one of the first two shifts of overtime. Although, being on the ice at the end of regulation, maybe he doesn’t get out there right away. Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville didn’t.
  • Cody McCormick is the only Sabres forward on the roster without a goal. He’s making $1.2 million and through 30 games has no goals. If Rob Niedermayer got shit last year for it, Cody’s approaching the territory. Sure, his role is as a tough guy, but championship teams have tough guys that contribute. He’s not contributing offensively. On the whole, Buffalo’s secondary scoring has been missing.
  • Seriously, Leino went 1-for-10 on draws. At what point does Luke Adam say, “Hey, Billy, how about you let me try one of those?” instead? Neither Adam or Kassian, Leino’s linemates, took a draw tonight.
  • Didn’t spend as much time tonight on game presentation, but I appreciate the people at First Niagara Center taking notice. They made some changes early, and the difference was noticeable. But the same predictable script led to a return to form of the crowd, the energy and eventually the scoreboard. The Sabres were up 2-1 when they decided the last television timeout of the first period would be a great time to show the blooper reel. Crowd died and never recovered. Sabres looked stagnant as a result. They lost. Not shocking to me whatsoever.
  • Lost in the result is that Tyler Ennis had a good night. Was running around with the puck. Scored the goal to give them the lead. Three points in six games since he came back from injury after having nothing to show for his first seven.

Posted on December 14, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I was OK with Ehrhoff engaging Greening. It was a good trade for the Sens considering the players involved. But he stood up for his goalie, despite getting tuned up pretty good.

    He would probably be on the ice for OT, but the forwards are the ones who were loafing, not the defensemen. Save for Gragnani getting walked by Eriksson

  2. Make that Karlsson. Not sure where I got Eriksson from.

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