Overreactions: Panthers edge Sabres in regulation


If anyone’s been seriously concerned about “the tank” lately, they’ve been seeing some issues. The Sabres, heading into Tuesday night, had picked up points in five of their last six (2-1-3), and more impressively in nine of their last ten (6-1-3) at First Niagara Center.

So with a strong run putting them on the brink of passing 29th place Edmonton, for at least one night, the heroic march to the 5th overall pick was stalled, this time by their historic Atlantic Division rival, the Florida Panthers. Despite two early goals by Drew Stafford that put the Sabres in front, a few deflections and an inability to finish late chances left Buffalo on the losing end of a 4-3 decision.

Ryan Miller struggled on his way to finishing with just 18 saves, getting beat three times in the first period on deflected shots. Florida scored twice in 52 seconds in the final minutes of the period, and the 3-2 lead would be a sustained advantage.

Florida’s Nick Bjugstad widened the gap with a second period snipe to make it 4-2, and Tim Thomas would weather the storm in the Panthers net over the final 20 minutes. Thomas stopped 15 of 16 Buffalo shots in the third period to hang on for the win.

Steve Ott would score his 100th career goal on the powerplay 8:36 into the final period, but the Sabres failed to tie it and took the loss in regulation.

  • Tyler Myers got a lot of love after the last game (arguably more than merited) and he followed it up with a relative dud, which the stats back up. He activated offensively a few times early, but overall, he was unimpressive in his own zone. We need to have a real conversation about this guy.
  • This space does not hesitate to rip on game presentation, but they’ve done an excellent job recognizing milestones over the PA. They even have graphics ready. It was good to see them make a big deal out of Ott’s 100th NHL goal. Now if they could only put the goal information in writing on the scoreboard, we’d be all set there.
  • By the way, the music was a mess. Absolutely way too relaxed and chill for a game as close as that. Can’t lull the crowd to sleep like that.
  • The boxscore isn’t kind to Miller, but hard to blame him much on the first period goals. Yes, as he said after the game, his positioning could’ve been better, but still, deflections. He’s the kind of guy who goes out of his way to take responsibility for things, which is incredibly admirable. But other than the Bjugstad snipe (which was gorgeous) he’s taking the heat a little more than he needs to.
  • Unless there’s something else at play, there’s zero reason Mark Pysyk should be in the press box with that defense being the dumpster fire that it is.
  • Linus Omark was solid. Like seeing him get put in a position to be creative. You know, utilizing his skill set. Doesn’t get done enough with this team.
  • Ville Leino actually had a really good game too. He takes so much shit from fans and media which, given the production is reasonable, but could be resolved with a couple goals. He had a couple decent chances, but his pass first mentality is gonna leave him in the firing lane.
  • Mike Weber had a stellar hit to set up Stafford’s second goal. Nice to see a hit that actually separates a guy from the puck like that in such a key position.
  • Stafford’s heating up at just the right time to go on a run at the end of the season and finish with 20 goals. That wouldn’t be horrible.

3MI Three Star Selections 
1. Drew Stafford, Buffalo
2. Nick Bjugstad, Florida
3. Ed Jovanovski, Florida

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Drew Stafford (2 goals (7), assist)
2. Ed Jovanovski (Goal (1), assist)
3. Steve Ott, Buffalo (PP Goal (1), assist)

Quote of the night:

“It wasn’t one of my better games. I don’t think it was a clean game, a little sloppy on my part in a few of those situations. That’s the way it goes over a course of a season.” — Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller


Posted on January 22, 2014, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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