Overreactions, 46th Edition: Another Day, Another Dagger

After a gritty and admirable performance Monday night in a tough loss to Detroit, hopes were sky-high Wednesday night for the Buffalo Sabres.

Alright, it’s not even worth trying at this point.

In a game where few objective fans could convince themselves that the end result would be in doubt, it proved to be another nail in the coffin for the Sabres’ 2011-2012 season. Chicago, battling for the top spot in the West coming in, now sits atop the heap after handing the floundering Sabres a 6-2 defeat.

All-star captain Jason Pominville scored both goals for Buffalo, who have lost ten straight road games.

“We’re not dealing well with adversity,” Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. “Until we learn to win again, you won’t win on the road.

“We’ve got some players that are way away from their game, and we’ve got some guys that I thought were good tonight, but we didn’t have enough of them.”

Pominville’s second goal tied the game at 2-2 minutes into the second period, but the Blackhawks scored four unanswered goals to coast away with two points.

Jhonas Enroth, who has been strong lately despite not finding wins, allowed six goals and stopped 29 of 35 shots. Enroth hasn’t picked up a winning decision since November 26.

The team flies to Winnipeg to face the Thrashers on Thursday night.

  • With the need for some roster changes obvious, it’s a common topic of discussion to consider what players should be considered untouchable. Obviously, Thomas Vanek is the top name on the list. Many would throw in Tyler Myers as well. (I wouldn’t.) But Jason Pominville has been everything we could’ve hoped for when he was given the “C”. He’s having a phenomonal year, contributes in all areas. He’s part of the solution, not part of the problem.
  • The NBC Sports crew calling the game were quite critical of the Sabres throughout the broadcast. Some on twitter seemed taken aback by it. It’s nice to get an objective opinion once in a while, isn’t it?
  • Jochen Hecht’s pass to Pominville on the opening goal was absolutely sublime.
  • Paul Gaustad was hurt after being boarded by Jamal Mayers in the second period. He’s actually been contributing of late, so his absence could be a blow. The team’s faceoff specialist was 2-of-10 on the night before getting hurt.
  • It’s good that Lindy Ruff went with Enroth over Miller Wednesday night. First, Enroth deserved it. He’s been playing great. After Miller’s poor performance Monday, it’d be good to let him stew on it a little bit. He’ll be motivated Thursday against a team that is beatable. The only question is whether the 18 guys skating up ice will be motivated as well.
  • The difference between a team like the Sabres and a team like Chicago? The Blackhawks were absolutely horrible for a few years and picked up guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane with lottery picks. Premier talent comes through the draft.
  • Congrats to Andrej Sekera for being the Sabres’ only defenseman with a positive plus/minus, as he was one of three players to be +1, along with Pominville and Hecht. He was pretty good considering the group he was playing with.
  • Jordan Leopold, who was superb all season, has been downright terrible the last few games. Not sure if it’s Christian Ehrhoff’s absence, or maybe even Tyler Myers’ presence, but he’s playing the worst hockey of his tenure as a Sabre. Ehrhoff was hurt December 30. Myers returned January 6. In the two games between, as the top guy, Leopold had a goal and two assists as the Sabres went 1-0-1. Since Myers’ came back, Leopold has no points and is -9 as the team has gone 1-5-1. Starting to wonder if they might be correlated.
  • The Ville Leino turnover that led to the Hossa goal was argued about extensively on Twitter. What I saw: Leino looked back, saw he had Drew Stafford trailing him. He buried his head and Stafford cut into the slot instead of coming in behind Leino. Leino, under the impression he had support, dropped it back to nobody. T.J. Brennan was pinching but was too far back to get to the puck, but still caught up ice. Marian Hossa was waiting at the blue line for the breakaway pass. Argue about the merit of the play, but it was clearly a miscommunication. With the way things are going, that puck was going to end up in the net.
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Posted on January 19, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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