Overreactions: Heavily favored Sabres start out hot, but fall to Avalanche

185376342_slideThis season’s gonna be fun.

Not in the way of “these guys are so good, I can’t believe it”-fun, but in the way of “this team is a mess and I don’t know what’s going to happen next”-fun. And as a fan, the least you can ask for out of your team is being interesting. And this team is just that.

Facing a red-hot Colorado team in their own rink, the Sabres, still winless at home, decided to mail it in for the first 20 minutes and couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole they were in. Buffalo ended the night with a 4-2 loss to the visiting team formerly known as the Nordiques.

It wasn’t even about how the game ended, it was about how it started.

Colorado took a 2-0 lead before the Sabres even registered a shot on goal, which didn’t happen until 14:09 into the game.

“A lot of our vets are out there to start a hockey game,” said coach Ron Rolston after the game. “I think preparation is the first thing you look at, and focus on what we need to do early on in the game.”

Buffalo was outshot 14-3 in the opening period, and after giving up a powerplay goal to Matt Duchene in the first minute of the second period, they actually made it a game.

Cody Hodgson ripped a slap shot past Colorado’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere to make it 3-1, which was later answered by Avs center Paul Stastny to make it 4-1.

Marcus Foligno would score in the third to make it 4-2, but Buffalo’s scoring struggles continued despite holding a 27-12 shots advantage over the final 40 minutes.

“We just need to come out better,” said Hodgson. “I don’t know what else to say.”

Neither do we.

  • Nikita Zadorov, playing his first NHL game, looked solid. Played like a veteran. The talk went from getting him a game before the puck was dropped to talking about giving him more minutes after the buzzer went. He did look good, but considering the rest of the blueline is a dumpster fire, it’s all relative. Let’s not ruin this kid for playing within himself. Look at the guy wearing #57. Develop him right.
  • That cheer when Stafford put the Sabres’ first shot on goal was loud.
  • Ryan Miller didn’t talk after the game, again. I don’t find that to be a big deal, but it’s interesting because making the decision not to is as much of a statement as anything he’d say. He can’t be happy with the way things are going. He’s not the problem. He’s playing well, and it’s not enough.
  • I’ve said multiple times this year that the game presentation in the arena is much better, but as this season wears on, the dance music they seem to think is appropriate is just going to look worse. Music is supposed to set the tone. If they want mindless crap, that’s what the crowd will be feeling too.
  • Johan Larsson is gonna be a hell of a player. His work on the penalty kill gets more and more impressive. As he develops, you’ll see him get entrusted to play in more pivotal situations. Will be fun to watch him grow into that.
  • Can’t believe Mike Weber didn’t get an instigator for jumping Colorado’s Steve Downie in front of the Sabres’ net late in the game. Downie ended up getting a misconduct for freaking out after getting ordered to the locker room to clean up his face. Didn’t seem fair to me.
  • Lots of postgame talk about Ron Rolston’s testy postgame press conference. He’s not one to be conversational with the media to begin with, but once it was suggested that his job might be in jeopardy he got quite terse. Is that him being a dick or him trying to take some attention away from the players? Who knows, but he didn’t seem to be worried about his job. He probably shouldn’t be. He’s a developmental coach, not a winner per se. He’s here to make this team better. You don’t necessarily do that by winning games in October. He may not be a long-term coach here, but in the short-term, he’s not going anywhere.

3MI Three Star Selections 
1. Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado
2. Matt Duchene, Colorado
3. Nikita Zadorov, Buffalo

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Matt Duchene, Colorado (PP Goal (6), assist)
2. Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado (Goal (2), assist)
3. Marcus Foligno, Buffalo (Goal (2))

Quote of the night:

“It’s a good question.” — Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolston

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Posted on October 20, 2013, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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