Overreactions with 49 to go: Avalanche bury crumbling Sabres

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With pregame rumors of a Johan Larsson call-up circulating, there was speculation as to what could possibly necessitate the move. Turns out Matt Moulson’s late scratch due to being sick would be what is referred to as a “harbinger.”

Missing their top left winger, and losing Patrick Kaleta due to illness and Tyler Myers to injury, the Sabres were on their heels all night and dropped a 5-1 decision to the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

In a fitting tribute to the discourse around the team this season, 2006 first overall pick Erik Johnson took a pass from 2013 first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon and beat Jhonas Enroth just 2:23 into the game.

It was all downhill from there. Colorado’s Cody McLoed would score shorthanded five minutes later. That 2-0 lead would hold through the third period, when Alex Tanguay and John Mitchell would score to put the game away.

Larsson made his whirlwind night memorable, burying his first career NHL goal with 6:33 left to make it 4-1. Tanguay would add an empty netter and the Sabres fell 5-1 for the second straight game.

Enroth made 22 saves in his first loss since December 4th. Calvin Pickard stopped 28 of 29 for the Avs.

  • Good for Johan Larsson to finally pick up his first NHL goal. Tonight was his 34th National Hockey League game. He’s not supposed to be some elite goalscorer, but at some point the points had to come. Nice way to cap off the day for him.
  • Ted Nolan brushed off the idea that it could be mumps that ailed Moulson and Kaleta. Could just be a flu bug, but hey, who knows. He’s not a doctor.
  • Missing Tyler Myers for an extended period of time will really aid the tank. Not so much in the way the team will be worse per se, but that guys like Andre Benoit and Andrej Meszaros might have to get more ice time.
  • The Sabres did a great job with the Make-A-Wish kid who dropped the puck for the ceremonial face-off. The kid was in the locker room helping interview players after the game. Really cool experience for him. 
  • Holy crap, are Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene fun to watch. Yeah, you guys are right, let’s win whatever games we can. We don’t need real talent. That doesn’t increase my entertainment value at all.
  • Not much of a reaction for Sabres legend Daniel Briere, in his first visit with the Avalanche. Not sure how much longer he’ll be able to play. This may have been his last visit. But no one booed. No one cheered. No one seemed to know or care. Kind of sad.
  • Brian Flynn was getting work on the team’s top power play unit. This is a reminder that Ted Nolan sat him for no reason all through October.
  • Chris Stewart picked up an assist on the Larsson goal. He now has six points on the year. I’d be putting him out there as much as possible to jack up that trade value.
  • The crowds at First Niagara Center are always a little more lively around the holidays. That could’ve been taken advantage of a bit more.
  • That hit by Nikita Zadorov on Duchene and Talbot (two for the price of one) in the second period was awesome. Wait until he’s playing 25 minutes a night and dropping guys like that. Kid’s gonna be a stud.

3MI Three Star Selections
1. Alex Tanguay, Colorado
2. John Mitchell, Colorado
3. Johan Larsson, Buffalo

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Ryan O’Reilly, Colorado (1 assist)
2. Calvin Pickard, Colorado (28 saves, 1 GA)
3. Alex Tanguay, Colorado (2 goals (11), assist)

Quote of the night:

“I had to pick up some gas for the car too on the way, so it didn’t make it easier. Then I came here, and there was two minutes left in warmup.”

— Buffalo Sabres forward Johan Larsson

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Posted on December 20, 2014, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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