Overreactions, 52nd Edition: Nothing’s over yet

The easy thing to do if you’re a fan is to write off this season.

The likelihood of salvaging this season is slightly above zero, that’s not just based on emotion, but the facts. It would take an incredible run of wins to find a way back into the playoff picture. All it takes is winning, right?

Well, seems they’re figuring that out.

After some lights-out defense and goaltending gave them the edge in breaking out of their extended slump, the Buffalo Sabres survived an early hole, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the New York Islanders in a shootout, winning 4-3.

Ryan Miller broke Dominik Hasek’s franchise record for career wins with his 235th, stopping 35 of 38 shots through 65 minutes and stopping Frans Nielsen in the shootout.

“I played with great teams and many great players, so this is very satisfying,” said Miller, a fifth-round draft pick in 1999 who debuted for the Sabres during the 2003-03 season. “And it was a good comeback win for us. We played a solid game, sticking with it and getting chances.”

Nielsen opened the scoring at just 1:39 of the first period, and after Nathan Gerbe tied the game four minutes later, Buffalo faced a two-goal deficit after 20 minutes. Maligned centers Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad scored in the second and third periods to force overtime.

Buffalo survived an onslaught in overtime, as a too many men penalty allowed the Islanders a chance to win, but Miller stopped all nine New York shots in the five minute extra session.

  • It was a good night for some guys having a rough season. Nathan Gerbe hasn’t been scoring like he needs to. Derek Roy has been taking a beating. Paul Gaustad’s been struggling to justify his role on the team. Hopefully it’s a nice boost for them.
  • Travis Hamonic will have to tell me what it’s like to take a slap shot in the face, because I have zero interest in experiencing it for myself.
  • Congrats to Ryan Miller for breaking the all-time wins mark. He’s had some really good years here, and he’ll likely extend that mark much further. Dominik Hasek could’ve had so much more if he would’ve had more to work with while he was here. Or shootouts. That would’ve helped too.
  • Jason Pominville is the team MVP this year, correct? Not sure there can be much of an argument. Been extremely consistent. Comes up big when needed. Added an assist and the clincher in the shootout. That ‘C’ was well deserved.
  • Tyler Ennis was again extremely active. He’s added so much to the offense since he returned from injury. His absence was a huge part of the team’s struggles, it’s no coincidence that the team is doing better with him back.
  • Luke Adam watch: +1 in 9:09 of ice time.
  • Buffalo got killed on faceoffs, with ace Paul Gaustad only winning 5-of-14 draws. Derek Roy had a team high at 44%, winning 8/18.
  • Derek Roy has been getting the brunt of the fans’ ire with the team’s disappointing play. His production is down, and he’s become the scapegoat and whipping boy for a lot of people in this town. A strong finish by him is going to be what can propel the Sabres to a miracle run. That’s up to him.
  • Those Islanders uniforms are atrocious. What asshole approved that shit? Awful execution.
  • Back to Miller, in regards to Hasek: Not sure Ryan can ever outperform what Hasek did here. Even winning a Cup at this point isn’t enough in my opinion. Hasek was the greatest player to ever wear a Sabres uniform and one of the best goaltenders in the history of the sport. No disrespect to Ryan, who has become a solid goaltender and can do great things. But he can have that record and not have that spot in the franchise’s history.
  • Sabres point scorers: Nathan Gerbe, Drew Stafford, Derek Roy, Ville Leino, Jason Pominville, Paul Gaustad, Tyler Myers, Brad Boyes. The guys who need to contribute did. The team won. That’s not unrelated.

Posted on February 6, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hasek over Perreault? Tough call there

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