Overreactions, 40th Edition: Losing games good teams win

It was a promising start that materialized into nothing.

With Buffalo buzzing around the Carolina net early, it looked like the Sabres came to play. Ryan Miller was even stopping the puck. The results didn’t follow.

At the end of the night, it was the Sabres, after going unbeaten in regulation in their last eight visits to RBC Center, that walked away empty-handed, losing 4-2 to the Hurricanes.

“They’re only really good opportunities if you bury them,” Ruff said. “We work to get position offensively. It was good. Not converting isn’t any good.”

As usual, it was the leading scorers showing up without help, as Buffalo got goals from Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.

Miller looked like he was going to play the type of game that could get the team a win. Stopping all 15 Carolina shots in the first, he limited Carolina to Justin Faulk’s powerplay goal in the second through two periods and 23 shots.

In the end, it was Buffalo’s futile attempts at offense than led to the team’s demise, as a pressing pinch on a four-on-four led to a two-on-one and Chad LaRose’s game winner in the third. Miller finished with 31 saves.

The team’s center situation also got even more dire, as Derek Roy went down with an injury early in the first and did not return. Ruff indicated that he will miss some time with the damage.

  • Paul Gaustad is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He is currently counting $2.3 million against the cap. He has three goals in 37 games this season. If this team doesn’t turn the ship around soon, take the draft pick at the deadline and run.
  • Again, the lack of secondary scoring is the team’s biggest issue. The team’s top line (Jochen Hecht, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek) have scored the team’s only goals in nine of 40 games this season. The team is 2-7-0 in those nine. The two wins were shutouts. If the rest of the team doesn’t chip in, the team dosn’t win. End of story.
  • Lots of jokesters on twitter seemed pretty happy about Roy being hurt. First, being pleased about the guy who’s supposed to be the team’s best center is pretty lame. Second, you can’t trade someone who’s hurt. Everyone that wants him gone is stuck with him unless he’s healthy. Think, McFly.
  • In the end, you’ll look and see that Ryan Miller allowed three goals. He wasn’t stellar and didn’t steal the game, but if the team converts early like it could’ve, his effort would’ve gotten them points. If the team doesn’t start gambling and playing loose, the repeated odd-man breaks in the game would’ve been limited, including the one that ended up as the game winner.
  • Still unsure why Lindy Ruff thought it’d be better to start “riding” Ryan Miller in a game that all signs pointed to Jhonas Enroth being the deserving starter. Enroth’s last two games against Carolina have been two of the best efforts of his career. Makes no sense.
  • Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville each played 20+ minutes, and Jochen Hecht was at 19:50. That line produced two goals. I don’t see any reason why they should get less than that. They’re the only ones producing.
  • Would like to see Robyn Regehr tie up Eric Staal a little sooner on the eventual Staal goal. Star players need to get more attention. Can’t let him be in that position.
  • Tyler Myers was alright in his return. Still looked a bit shaky but a nice starting point. Few seem to remember how horrid he was before the injury. His presence shouldn’t stop team from looking to Jordan Leopold for more, because Leopold’s been their best defenseman all year.
  • Sabres got murdered on the draw, winning just 38%. Brad Boyes is the only guy who took more than one that had an above 50% rate.

Posted on January 7, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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