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Overreactions with 37 to go: Have we reached the bottom?

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Thursday night may have been a new low for the Buffalo Sabres. They’ve been losing. They’ve been losing a lot. But this scoreline was as bad as it’s been all season.

Coming in on an 0-for-January slide, the Sabres didn’t even get a sniff of a game. Outshooting Buffalo 15-3 in the opening period, the visiting Minnesota Wild jumped out to a lead that would never be in question. Minnesota would had Buffalo a 7-0 loss, the worst scoreline of the season.

Returning hero Jason Pominville would pace the Wild with three assists, while fellow former Sabres captain Thomas Vanek would add a goal and an assist himself.

For Buffalo, there was nothing. No goals. No great defense. No great goaltending. No threat.

Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth stopped 30 of the 37 shots he faced.

“After a game like tonight, when you get blown out, embarrassed in your own building, I feel bad for fans that come and support us,” said Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges.

461597664_slideNick Deslauriers punched Minnesota’s Matt Dumba in the face for a bit in the first period. That may have been the Sabres’ most notable effort on the night.

Devan Dubnyk, making his Minnesota debut, made 18 saves for the shutout. The Wild snapped a six game losing streak with the win.

It wasn’t good. This team isn’t good. This team is bad to historic, incredible levels.

  • The Sabres showed a “thank you” video for Jason Pominville, a year and a half after he made his first return trip to Buffalo. They didn’t do it then, and they were ripped for it. It’s a nice gesture, but you don’t want to try too hard. It would’ve been fine if they passed on it. They missed the window.
  • It’s honestly kind of surprising there haven’t been more games of this type this season. This will unlikely be the last.
  • He hasn’t been scoring, but I’m continually impressed with Tyler Ennis’ game of late. He’s buzzing around. He’s getting no help but he’s been alright. Read the rest of this entry

On Pominville’s return to Buffalo

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I’m sure you guys are past arguing about whether or not the Sabres should’ve done anything for former Sabres captain Jason Pominville when he came back to Buffalo on Monday. Don’t care, I didn’t really get my two cents in yet, so deal with it.

In his first game back with his new team, the Minnesota Wild, Pominville was the storyline, before and after the game, earning the first star and notching the game winning goal in a 2-1 Sabres loss. The Sabres organization decided not to do anything special, didn’t bother to recognize him during the game, just went about it like any other game.

And the great part? They got killed for it afterwards. The Buffalo News got in on the action, as Mike Harrington tore the decisionArtvoice’s Puck Stop just did another piece about it.

From Harrington:

Pominville was different. His trade was a good deal for both sides. He didn’t ask out at all. Fans understood. It would have taken a quick PA announcement welcoming him back to Buffalo and thanking him for his years of service, a quick Jumbotron clip of his famous overtime goal in Ottawa. Let the fans applaud. Thirty seconds. Done.

From Kulyk & Farrell:

Jeers to the Sabres front office and game ops crew for not giving their former Sabres captain any love on the HD board. The script was simple: first TV timeout you run the highlight reel of the overtime series clinching goal against Ottawa in 2006 (“Now do you believe! These guys are good! Scary good!”), then show Pommers on the bench and let the fans do the rest. A goose bump moment stolen from the fans. But hey! The kiss cam and dancing recycling bins sequences were epic.

Or, the team could’ve taken a history lesson and did something really nice. Like they did in November 1997, when former captain Pat LaFontaine made his first appearance in Buffalo since being traded to the New York Rangers. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 76th Edition: I thought I told you that we won’t stop

The wins just keep coming.

It wasn’t long ago that the Sabres looked at the standings and saw themselves sitting dead last in the East. It wasn’t long ago that they were talking lottery pick instead of playoffs. But tonight, the Sabres will go to sleep sitting in 8th place, in prime position to win the last spot in the playoffs.

(Well, whenever they go to bed, after they spend the night downtown at the bars…)

Fresh off a convincing 4-1 win over New York the night before, the Sabres rebounded from an early deficit and earned a 3-1 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild.

Thomas Vanek tied the game early in the second period, knocking in a loose puck in front of the net. Buffalo would carry play for most of the middle period, outshooting Minnesota 17-5.

The Sabres took the lead 1:45 into the third period, as Tyler Myers ripped a point shot that found the leg of Marcus Foligno before hitting the back of the net to give Buffalo a lead they would never relinquish. Cody Hodgson scored a buzzer-beating empty netter to add the insurance.

Ryan Miller turned aside 24 of 25 shots, earning his seventh win in his last nine games.

Buffalo moved past idle Washington with 84 points, with the Capitals holding a game in hand, which they’ll play tomorrow evening when they host these Wild. The Sabres travel to DC on Monday for Tuesday’s showdown with the Caps.

  • Corey Tropp was the well deserved second star. He made the play in the corner that paved the way for the Vanek goal. He was a physical presence all night. That line is developing some nice chemistry. They chipped in two goals tonight.
  • Can I copyright the “Travis Turnbull is Adam Mair” comparison? I was on that early. Spent five seconds more on the ice (5:05 TOI) than in the box (5 PIM) tonight.
  • Tyler Myers made the play on the Foligno goal with a good point shot, but I thought he was overall bad with the puck. Senseless giveaways, fumbling the puck at the blueline and making poor decisions. It didn’t kill them, but it didn’t help. He can be better. Read the rest of this entry

Traverse City: Great idea. Buffalo: Better idea.

After an off day yesterday, Luke Adam and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres’ rookie class wraps up their round robin schedule at the Traverse City prospects tournament tonight against the host Detroit Red Wings.

The Sabres head into the match having already wrapped up the top spot in their division and a spot in the 1st Place game, thanks to wins over Columbus and Minnesota, both by scores of 6-3. (By the way, stick tap to Kevin Snow of the Sabres, the only Buffalo media guy who’s there, for a solid job recapping the events.)

The championship game will take place Wednesday night as the Sabres take on the New York Rangers at 7:00 ET, a game which will be broadcast live on MSG and NHL Network.

It’s a positive step for the organization to be participating in an event like this. It’s a great opportunity for new Amerks coach Ron Rolston to get know his players. It will be a bonding experience for all the prospects in the organization. It’s even giving the team an opportunity to get an extra look at a few free agent invitees who may not get much of a chance to shine once the full roster is together.

The only real downside of the whole thing is the inability for anyone to watch without being inside the rink.

It begs the question… why are they not doing this here in Buffalo? Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, Edition 65: Win-nesota.

It’s nice to see a player basically say “You know what? Enough of this shit. I’m gonna go score a goal and we can get out of here.”

Drew Stafford did just that Sunday night.

The Sabres forward, fresh off breaking out of a slump, stormed around Wild defenseman Brent Burns and ended the game less than a minute into overtime to give Buffalo a 3-2 win.

“I was kind of at the end of a shift, so I didn’t have too much left in me. I just tried going to the net and kind of pushed off of Burns,” Stafford said. “I just kind of leaned into him and happened to get a lane to the net, went in and put it in.”

Jason Pominville and Rob Niedermayer (yes, Rob Niedermayer) also scored for the Sabres, who blew a 2-0 second period lead but held on to get the two points. Jhonas Enroth made 24 saves for the first overtime victory of his career. His three previous wins were all by shootout.

The two points moved Buffalo into 8th place in the Eastern Conference, jumping idle Carolina. The Sabres still trail the New York Rangers by two points, thanks to their drubbing of Philadelphia Sunday afternoon.