Overreactions, 62nd Edition: Not the answer we were looking for

Saturday night’s game in New York was previously referred to as a litmus test here on this blog. One would’ve been looking for an “A” or an “F” from the Sabres.

Call it a “C” because everyone is now left “clueless” when trying to determine where to go. Or you could use “C” for “clusterfuck.”

In their last outing before Monday’s NHL trade deadline, the Buffalo Sabres had a chance to gain more ground on that elusive 8th playoff spot as they travelled to New York to face the conference-best Rangers. They travelled home to Buffalo sitting six points out after a 3-2 overtime loss.

Drew Stafford scored both goals for Buffalo, who twice let one-goal leads slip away. Ryan Miller was sensational early on, stopping 25 shots on the night, but Buffalo couldn’t put the game away.

Ryan Callahan’s goal three minutes into overtime ended it, deking past a sprawled Patrick Kaleta and beating Miller.

“We could have won the game,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We need those extra points.”

Buffalo more than held their own against the team they’re likely battling for a chance to play against in round one of the playoffs. The Sabres have 20 games remaining to catch 8th place.

  • Drew Stafford really needed a game like this. He’s had his chances all year, he just hasn’t been finishing. This game was a game where he was finishing.
  • Andrej Sekera got big minutes in this game, and deservedly so. Dude had a great game and picked up an assist on the first Stafford goal. Play has been phenomenal of late.
  • Patrick Kaleta had the worst game of his season. Earned himself a nice -3 rating and was burned on both the tying and winning goals. That line with Paul Gaustad and Nathan Gerbe has been relied upon to be up against team’s top lines and they’ve held their own. If they’re going to be put in that role, great, they’ve acquitted themselves by now. But if they’re playing the Rangers in the first round and they can’t contain New York’s studs, it’ll be a four and out.
  • The whole “using the New York feed” on MSG crap can’t end soon enough.
  • Would’ve liked to see Corey Tropp and Zack Kassian get more than five minutes and change in a game like that.
  • Ryan Miller is back to being the Ryan Miller who’s worth his contract. 8-2-3 in last 13 decisions. Looked on the same level as the guy on the other end of the ice, who happens to be an MVP candidate. Goaltending did not lose that game, despite the fluky first goal.
  • Back on Kaleta, that penalty he took on Carl Hagelin at the end of the first was absolutely unnecessary and stupid. Grab him in the scrum, fine. Ragdoll him against the boards for no reason, not fine. Stupid penalty to take when the referees haven’t been calling any penalties.
  • Christian Ehrhoff at a $4 million cap hit for ten years is an under-appreciated steal.
  • The NHL is becoming brutal to watch. You’ve got a rulebook. Follow it. Powerplays are actually entertaining.
  • Buffalo’s powerplay is getting more work in one day of practice than they do during two weeks of games. It’s getting stupid. Nice to see them convert when they don’t get many chances.
  • I’m at the point where I can’t say I hate the Rangers. Might be 24/7 that made them likable. Might just be guys you can’t hate like Marty Biron and Ryan Callahan. Even John Tortorella is on my good side. I wouldn’t be mad if they came out of the East.

Posted on February 26, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Tortorella was actually a Sabre but previous regimes were enamored with Lindy and Hasek. Torts left and went to Tampa Bay. Oh yeah he got his name engraved on it!

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