Overreactions, 44th Edition: Roadtrip of doom starts with disappointment

Opening a seven-game road trip, one would think it’d be prudent to snag what points you can in the games that should be deemed “winnable.”

Facing the 15th-best team in the Eastern Conference should fall into that category. Saturday night’s game in New York didn’t fall into the “win” category, though.

Despite another phenomenal performance from rookie Jhonas Enroth, Buffalo couldn’t get the goal support or the defense it needed, dropping a 4-2 defeat to the last place Islanders.

“When you don’t execute exits out of your zone, you have a hard time generating much at the other end,” Ruff said. “On the bright side, I did think Jhonas was terrific.”

Enroth’s 36 saves were in most instances timely and crucial to keeping the game close. The Sabres got goals from Patrick Kaleta and Derek Roy, but a late goal by New York’s Michael Grabner was the deciding marker.

Buffalo got a chance to tie the game, as Thomas Vanek got a penalty shot with just 1:24 left, but the team’s leading scorer rang a shot off the post behind Isles goalie Evgeni Nabokov. New York added an empty netter with 30 seconds remaining to seal it.

Next up for the Sabres is a trip to Detroit, where they face the Red Wings on Monday night, winners of 14 straight of Joe Louis Arena. Oh boy.

  • Robyn Regehr left with an upper body injury and was deemed as out for the coming games by Lindy Ruff. With Andrej Sekera ready to come back, it won’t necessitate a call-up, but the defense has struggled mightily. Mike Weber has been alright, but right now he’s getting #4 minutes. Marc-Andre Gragnani and Joe Finley looked like a dumpster fire in their own zone for much of the night. Sabres need to get Christian Ehrhoff back badly.
  • Derek Roy came through with a big goal to tie the game right after the Isles made it 2-1. The second line finally chipped one in. Oddly enough, it was on a night where the top line wasn’t making an impact on the scoresheet.
  • The lack of production from the first line can be correlated with Thomas Vanek getting drilled in the side of the head by a Jochen Hecht shot. Vanek has been taking a beating lately. They can’t afford to lose him. If he’s done, they’re done.
  • Patrick Kaleta was given another minor penalty, again for charging, in what appeared to be a dubious call. The play could’ve been deemed interference, but it wasn’t. He has minor penalties in four of his last six games. Whether he’s being targeted or not, eventually he needs to learn the line and stay inside it.
  • Tyler Myers was on the ice for 31:05, thanks to the Regehr injury and tenuous third pairing. Myers hasn’t been that good. If he’s playing half the game, well, you’re not in good shape.
  • Does it seem like Michael Grabner always scores against Buffalo? Well, he kinda does. 8 goals in 6 career games against the Sabres.
  • The Sabres have an exactly identical record after 44 games this season as they did last season. That team needed a huge surge to battle into the seventh spot. Is a heroic march to seventh and a first round defeat really the target right now?
  • Luke Adam played just 6:29. Matt Ellis played 15:55. Does this look like the marks of a team that’s playing well? I don’t think so.
  • In his last 10 starts, Jhonas Enroth is 1-6-3. Buffalo has scored more than two goals in exactly two of those games. Can’t blame him, can you?
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Posted on January 15, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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