At least Buffalo got a point. However, they should have gotten 2 points and again, Buffalo displayed their inability to play 60 minutes of hockey.
Buffalo started out playing very well. Why? They had a fantastic forecheck. Their forecheck alone forced Ottawa to make turnovers in their own end, and Buffalo cashed in early. Despite the early deficit against the Senators tonight, Buffalo really started to take it to Ottawa. They pushed hard and the Buffalo forwards were right on the Ottawa forwards back in the Senators end. It resulted in 2 Buffalo goals.
I was having some flashbacks to when Buffalo was playing aggressively back after the lockout. They were aggressive with their offensive attack. Buffalo looked like that tonight, forcing costly turnovers.
I was even impressed with the defense tonight too. At times, the defense looked like they were playing more aggressively, and for the 1st half of the game, limited the chances that the Senators had. Plus, Ottawa didn’t really have the ability to maneuver in the Sabres end. I was seriously getting ready to watch a good thrashing of the Senators.
Then, Buffalo figured in the 3rd period (and part of the 2nd period), “HEY, let’s sit on this lead!!!! We’ll be fine!!!”
NO! NO! NO!
You cannot, repeat, CANNOT sit back in the NHL. Ottawa made them pay. The last half of this game, Ottawa controlled, and in all honesty, Buffalo should consider themselves lucky that they are walking out of First Niagara Center with 1 point at all tonight! You could see the goal coming for Ottawa to tie it. Buffalo woke up a little bit after that goal, but still was unable to cash in, and get back in the game to get the much needed 2 points that Ottawa will return home with.
Also, on the goal for Ottawa to tie, 3 Buffalo forwards were standing in front of Miller (plus 2 Ottawa forwards). There was no aggression to defend their end, and the Sabres provided the screen needed for the game tying goal.
I said this after the first game of the year in Europe, no lead is safe. Then, i was referring to a 3 goal lead, and after blowing the game to Philly last week, you think Buffalo would have figured it out, that no lead is safe. Apparently not.
Buffalo showed some improvements. They did play more aggressively tonight for a period of time. Buffalo also did have some good scoring opportunities, and continued to have that strong forecheck. The other thing I really liked from this game was the fact that the minute that Miller got bumped by Greening, Ehrhoff threw down the gloves, and sent a message to anyone who wants to even think about touching Miller.
That’s about it improvement wise.
Like normal, Miller carried the team tonight. The Sabres better be thanking him for the point tonight, because if it wasn’t for some of his big saves, Buffalo doesn’t even leave with an overtime loss.
I wouldn’t have a problem if this happened on a occasional basis. If this happened a couple times during the season, I really wouldn’t mind. Unfortunately, this is starting to become a regular occurrence, and blowing leads, not playing 60 minutes, and playing schizophrenic hockey is becoming the signature of the 2011-12 Buffalo Sabres.
I’d want to change that image of the Sabres as fast as humanly possible, while the season is still salvageable.