Overreactions, 38th Edition: Sabres drop the ball on NYE

Jhonas Enroth was as good as he needed to be.

The rookie, getting his first start in three weeks, was solid for the Sabres, stopping 44 of 46 shots through regulation and overtime. Unfortunately, the goal support didn’t do quite enough to get the effort into the win column.

In a spirited affair at First Niagara Center, the celebrations were muted despite Enroth’s big night, as Ottawa’s Bobby Butler scored in the fifth round of the shootout to hand Buffalo a 3-2 shootout loss.

“I felt good out there tonight,” Enroth said. “I was a little bit nervous before the game, but I told myself to relax and compete. Usually when I do that, it works out well for me.”

Shootout markers by Brad Boyes and Jason Pominville were cancelled by Ottawa, and extra rounds shooters Derek Roy and Drew Stafford failed to beat Sens goalie Craig Anderson.

Buffalo falls to 17-17-4 on the year, good for 11th place in the East.

The Sabres twice jumped into the lead in the first 60 minutes on goals by Brad Boyes and Paul Gaustad, the third of the season for each. Both leads were eventually answered by Ottawa.

  • The bottom six has been taking a lot of flak here lately for not putting the puck in the net. Tonight, they chipped one in. But with the top line not producing like they have been, they didn’t get that third goal that would’ve been the difference. Three goals should win you a lot of hockey games. Top line gets one, secondary scoring gets one, depth gets one. If all three groups chip in, you’re in really good shape.
  • For fuck’s sake, you’re really gonna play the Chicken Dance between regulation and overtime? No wonder the place is so passive. Holy shit, it’s the most intense part of the game. The game is on the line and you think it’s a good time to dance? How the fuck is this shit allowed? Fuck.
  • Hopefully this strong performance is enough to convince Lindy Ruff to keep going back to Jhonas more often. When the backup isn’t playing lights out, he’s too tempted to stick with Miller. The team has three back-to-backs in the next 19 days. He shouldn’t even think about not splitting them.
  • Roy and Stafford didn’t produce in the skills competition, but overall, Stafford especially, they were fairly good tonight. Their line with Nathan Gerbe generated some really good chances early on. Nothing to show for it though.
  • Jordan Leopold is gonna take the brunt of the loss of Christian Ehrhoff and Andrej Sekera. He handled it tonight. 29:57 of ice time, two assists. I worry about him if the rest of the blueliners don’t pitch in to help.
  • Thomas Vanek was held off the scoresheet, despite ripping six shots (2 on goal, 1 blocked, 3 missed) towards the net. He had a few chances. He’s earned some slack for carrying the team himself. Same for Pominville (1 on goal, 4 missed) as well. They can’t do everything themselves.
  • Brad Boyes is so money in the shootout. It’s not even fair.
  • Seemed like there was a fair amount of participation for Tux and Pucks, which is nice. It’s a good tradition that got brushed aside by previous regimes. It’s not a big deal, but obviously the crowd responded to it. Theme nights, giveaway nights, doesn’t matter… if there’s a tangible reason why people think a game is special, they’ll be more excited for it. Most home games are treated like any other game. The fans act like it.
  • Zack Kassian was a late scratch for Buffalo. First, I’m sure he’d have been a nice asset in the shootout if necessary. Second, I’m not sure why Lindy felt he was apt to contribute less than McCormick or Ellis. Third, if you’re gonna scratch him, just send him to Rochester so he can play. He’s young. He needs work. Don’t let him rot.
  • Luke Adam came out flying early and might have been Buffalo’s best player in the first ten minutes. He got three shifts in the second and three in the third. Finished with 8:14 of time on ice. Didn’t notice during the game, but that’s strange to look at now.
  • What two Sabres tied for the most hits tonight? If you guessed Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe at four, congrats on looking at the event summary before everyone else.

Thanks to everyone who takes time to read. I don’t do this for any other reason than I enjoy getting my thoughts together and sharing them. Still blows my mind that so many of you keep coming back.

See you in 2012.

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Posted on January 1, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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