Overreactions, 55th Edition: Turn out the lights

With time winding down on the Sabres’ window to reinsert themselves into playoff contention, there are games that carry more weight than others. Facing a Tampa Bay team two points behind them in the standings, this was one of those games.

That window slid a bit further towards the closed position tonight.

Coming out flat after an inspiring win last night, in front of a lifeless crowd, the Buffalo Sabres couldn’t overcome another two goal deficit, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 2-1 defeat.

Ryan Miller was solid in net, stopping 26 of 28 shots, but the goal support wasn’t quite there.

Jason Pominville’s third period goal, his 20th of the season, cut the deficit in half, but a late surge, including a shot off the crossbar by Christian Ehrhoff, couldn’t find an equalizer.

“We didn’t play well enough,” said head coach Lindy Ruff after the game.

With the night’s results, Buffalo falls to 14th in the East, eight points behind 8th place Toronto with a game in hand.

The Sabres’ unbeaten-in-regulation run came to an end after going 5-0-1 in their last six. They next face 6th place New Jersey at home on Tuesday.

  • Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff were on the ice and out of position on both Tampa goals. They were eventually split up, and then reunited. Myers led the team in ice time with 23:02.
  • Made mention of it on twitter during the game, but Tampa’s 2nd goal, the eventual game winner is a look at what could be soon. The goal, scored by Steven Stamkos, a #1 overall pick in the draft, was set up by Teddy Purcell, part of the return from trading pending a pending UFA at the deadline a couple years back. A few more losses, and the Sabres might be looking at having guys like that on their team next year.
  • Thomas Vanek looked pretty good, and his efforts set up Pominville’s goal. His unreal goal count in his career against Tampa (23 goals in 26 career games coming in) was not augmented tonight.
  • The crowd was lifeless as it has been often this year, and the lack of energy seemed to drag down the effort level on the ice. See the live blog for more of my thoughts, but this is the kind of game where you need to get the most out of your fans to swing momentum.
  • Zack Kassian was average in his first game back after recall. He missed an open net in the third period which could’ve tied the game. He had no shots on goal, one blocked, and two that missed the net in 9:44 TOI. He has six points in 20 games with the Sabres this season.
  • With Kassian in the lineup, and an abundance of offensively minded players, Matt Ellis’ presence made even less sense. Something’s missing.
  • Don’t remember noticing Robyn Regehr much at all tonight. Just thought about that looking at the roster. Stats show he played 17:27. Huh.
  • The NHL needs to reevaluate how the officials are calling games. Things are just getting brutal to watch. The league has set up a fairly nice rulebook. The officials need to enforce it. Four powerplays between the teams isn’t legit. Call the game like the rules say. Special teams are a part of the game. The game sucked back when they didn’t call anything. No need to bring it back.
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Posted on February 11, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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