Overreactions with 43 to go: Ineffective Sabres shut out by Luongo, Panthers

460980928_slideIt’s hard to explain the mastery over the Sabres by Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo. Yes, the Sabres aren’t good at hockey, but this is something.

Luongo continued his dominant run over Buffalo with yet another shutout, his second this season alone against the Sabres, as Florida won by a 2-0 score.

In his last five games against Buffalo, Luongo is 5-0-0, allowed two goals and has four shutouts while stopping 130 of 132 shots (.985 sv%). The last time he gave up a goal in Buffalo was 2006. He’s been alright.

Nick Bjugstad and Sabres legend Brad Boyes scored for Florida, who moved within one point of the New York Rangers for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Their goaltender turned away all 30 shots he faced.

Michal Neuvirth stopped 31 of 33 shots for Buffalo, who have now won just one of their last eight and are thankfully dropping like a rock to the league basement.

“I’m proud of my mental toughness tonight,” said Neuvirth.

We’re all proud, Michal. All of us.

  • This game wasn’t very entertaining.
  • This stretch against the Sabres for Luongo is kinda crazy. Not absurd, because this team is doo-doo butter and doesn’t score goals much to begin with, but Robbie knows how to lock it down. The Sabres next visit the Panthers on February 28th, right before the NHL trade deadline.
  • The fact Tyson Strachan isn’t undoubtedly the worst defenseman on this team says a lot about it. He was basically signed for Rochester, and he’s getting leaned on as a key veteran. Absurd.
  • Tyler Ennis was the best player on the ice for Buffalo. Ended up with three shots, but he seemed to be the one that created most of the offense. Don’t know if it was in the game plan, but he sure spent a lot of time trying to stretch the defense and catch outlet lobs from his own zone.
  • The Panthers, their top two lines specifically, are really fun to watch away from the puck. The Sabres seem to set up and look a bit stagnant. Florida’s guys are noticeable in the way they position themselves to open up for passes or shots. Buffalo seemed to struggle with that early.
  • Former Sabre Brad Boyes has eight points in 11 games against Buffalo since he left.
  • Whatever magic line combinations Ted Nolan had for that unsustainable run through November-December, the magic is gone. She gone.
  • The crowd did the wave midway through the third period when shots were 2-2. They decided to join in with the Hawaii Five-O theme at the next stoppage. Pro tip: The wave isn’t good. Don’t incentivize or embrace it. People do the wave when they’re not paying attention to the game. No one does the wave in the last minute of a close game. Be better.

3MI Three Star Selections
1. Nick Bjugstad, Florida
2. Roberto Luongo, Florida
3. Brad Boyes, Florida

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Roberto Luongo, Florida (30 saves, 0 GA)
2. Brad Boyes, Florida (GW Goal (7)
3. Nick Bjugstad, Florida (PP Goal (14)

Quote of the night:

“We’re not shooting enough. The effort was there in the second and third, but we blew the game in the first.”

— Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan

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Posted on January 2, 2015, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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