We can talk all day about how great it was that Buffalo bounced back. We can talk about that phenomenal save that Miller made on Neal. We can look at how the Sabres gave the Penguins a serious run for their money today. I personally am going to choose to look at this...
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Oh no, don’t say “They came close”, don’t say “They played their best”, and don’t tell me that it was “entertaining”, and do NOT tell me about the “positives” that we can take from todays game.
Let’s look at the game winning goal for the Penguins. The Pens get the puck in deep in the Sabres end. Dupuis chips the puck around behind the Sabres net to Crosby. Now, Sulzer is covering Crosby. Does he try to pin him on the boards? No. He coasts over, gives Crosby a 1 armed shove, and Crosby skates away. Now, Foligno starts to come in, as does Ennis. Does Foligno go to check Crosby? Nope, he does a poor poke check, that Crosby easily avoids, but loses the puck. Sulzer and Ennis lunge at the puck, and they end up tapping it back to Martin who puts the game winner past Miller.
Personally, I’d like to see Crosby be eliminated. Not just because he’s Crosby. I don’t care who gets the puck along the boards whether it be Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, etc. Take them out. Pittsburgh gave Buffalo no room to work in the last 2 minutes of the game, and played fairly physical hockey.
Then comes the final 2 minutes. Buffalo didn’t play desperate hockey at the end of this game. The Pens are ok defensively, but nothing compared to when they won the Cup. I feel that’s their weakness. They looked like All-Stars shutting down Buffalo, and Buffalo didn’t really seem to want to try to tie the game. That last minute desperation style of hockey was absent per usual for the Sabres.
This comes back to my main point of this blog. Good teams find ways to win. When Ott scored, that was a huge boost for this team. It should have been a huge momentum shift. Instead, Pascal Dupuis scores less than 2 minutes later to tie the game again. Instead of turning up the heat on the Penguins, the Sabres took a brief nap after Ott’s goal, and when they woke up it was tied.
Then, Steve Ott clobbers Kunitz, who retaliates, and gives Buffalo a power play with 6:18 to go in the game. Here’s the chance to put the game away today. This is the chance that you dream about, and Buffalo blew it. They didn’t find a way to put one past Fleury, and then play soft in their own end.
I find this loss almost more reprehensible than some of the more recent losses because this is a game that Buffalo could have won. There are games that teams deserve to lose, and you walk away just shaking your head, just grateful that it’s over.
Then there’s todays game, where you’re banging your head against the wall trying to wipe the game from your memory.
Which brings me to my final point. Why do I point out all these things with Buffalo’s loss today? Buffalo had ample opportunities to win this game today. But they couldn’t find a way to get it done. Good teams find a way to get the tying/winning goal. Good teams cash in on their opportunities. Good teams aren’t afraid to eliminate the man along the boards and don’t let them just waltz around. Good teams play with desperation when they need a late goal to tie the game. Good teams... I think I made my point.
In the end, I can talk all day about how good the Sabres looked, and the positives that come from this game. Personally, I share Ryan Miller’s anger that follows this game. I don’t care about all of the positives from this game. In the end, all that matters is that this game gets chalked up in the loss column, and Buffalo didn’t get 2 points.
A good team wins this game today. Hence, Buffalo lost.
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Thanks for reading!!
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