Overreactions, 45th Edition: Detroit Rock Bottom

Things didn’t look too promising coming in to Monday’s game at Joe Louis Arena.

Riding an eight-game losing streak on the road, Buffalo was about to run into a buzzsaw. Detroit was ready to extend their home winning streak to a franchise record 15. The numbers indicated it could be trouble for the Sabres.

Surprise, surprise.

While they held them off the board for just over five minutes, there wasn’t much reason to think the Sabres had any chance to get out of there with points, and they dropped a 5-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway.

“We’ve got to wake up,” Buffalo forward Jason Pominville said.

Ryan Miller got chased after allowing five goals on 14 shots in the first 24:32 of action. He expressed his frustration after the game, and, just like many of us have been saying, there’s no magical cure in his eyes.

“If you want to just destroy a team and go out and be reckless and do something, yeah. Then there’s going to be new guys in here. But other than that, this locker room is going to be pretty much the same, if not completely the same and we gotta find it from in here [points to chest]. You can’t sit and wait for somebody else to fucking do it.”

The nine game losing streak shows no signs of stopping, with the team unable to put together a good road game and visits to Chicago, Winnipeg and St. Louis, all arenas where the home team has dominated, awaiting them.

This is what a season slipping away looks like.

  • Lindy Ruff decided to mix up the defense pairings and forward lines after seeing the team fail to beat the last place Islanders on Saturday. With Andrej Sekera returning in place of Robyn Regehr and T.J. Brennan replacing Joe Finley, there wasn’t going to be much continuity on the blueline anyways. It turned out to be a disaster. Jordan Leopold and Mike Weber looked lost playing together, both being on the ice for four of the five Detroit goals.
  • One of the changes Ruff made was putting Derek Roy between Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek. Defensively not withstanding, that line looked alright in the offensive zone, especially Roy, who I thought looked good in the attacking zone. The trio had 10 of the Sabres’ 27 shots on Detroit’s Jimmy Howard.
  • Oddly enough, Marc-Andre Gragnani was even on the night. He’s been one of the team’s shakiest defenseman. Somehow his plus-minus doesn’t reflect that.
  • Brad Boyes came in with good career numbers against Detroit, potting 20 points in 25 career games against the Wings. He was on the fourth line with Matt Ellis and Luke Adam, and played 9:47. When a player has a good track record against a certain team, I’m a fan of pushing them a bit more. Some guys just respond in certain environments (see Miller against Toronto, Vanek against Tampa Bay) and Ruff didn’t exactly give Boyes a situation he can succeed in.
  • Jhonas Enroth was very strong in relief, stopping all 12 shots he faced. He’s been really good lately. In his last four appearances (three starts and Monday’s relief appearance) Enroth has allowed just seven goals in 221 minutes and has a .949 save percentage over that span. I’d like to see him get the start Wednesday in the first half of the back-to-back.
  • Pavel Datsyuk was unreal for Detroit. The difference between the Sabres and a team like the Red Wings is having a guy like Datsyuk. While Thomas Vanek is an elite player and the closest thing Buffalo has, Datsyuk is just on another level. Guy is unreal. Finished with three assists.
  • Shoutout to Nathan Gerbe for showing effort even late in that game. Guy may not be producing, but he’s playing with heart. In lieu of results, we’ll just have to be happy with that.
  • Anyone who thinks the team isn’t going to do anything to change the makeup of the roster is just a negative, ignorant person. Terry Pegula sat there and watched this game in person. He claims he wants to follow the Detroit model. Seeing first hand what of a gap there is between where the Sabres are and where they need to be, he’s going to make changes. It’s just a matter of making the right changes and waiting for the opportunity to make them.

Posted on January 17, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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