As everyone knows by now, Buffalo finally won a game on the road on Tuesday, squeaking out of New Jersey with a 2-1 shoot out victory.
This game may have just cost Buffalo getting back into the playoff race this season.
This win, as nice as it was to see Buffalo have more points than their opponent when it’s all said and done, gave management the excuse not to do a thing. One win may just convince people that nothing needs to be done with this team, and the status quo will remain the same.
Buffalo still needs a shake up to occur, on the bench and with management. Take a look at Buffalo’s last game. There’s one reason why they won. Ryan Miller. That’s it. Buffalo was out shot 28 to 14. 14 shots in a hockey game is pathetic. Miller kept them in it, and it’s luck that Buffalo got to the shoot out where there was at least they had a shot at coming out on top. Luckily Pominville and Gerbe rewarded Miller for his stellar goaltending.
Entering the All-Star break, Buffalo is tied in dead last with Carolina, due to having won more games than the Hurricanes. Buffalo has 33 games to play 10 points out of 8th place which is currently occupied by Jersey.
So what now?
With a good hot streak (and some luck) Buffalo can get back into the playoffs. However, even though they won against Jersey, Buffalo is going to need a lot better effort than that coming out of the break. Buffalo needs to take this time to refocus and be grateful that they aren’t in the Blue Jacket’s position, sitting 23 points out of 8th place.
However, I’m still afraid that the problem lies with coaching and general management. Injuries still shouldn’t be an excuse for losing games. I go back to George “Punch” Imlach’s approach to managing this team. He stated that if he could make a trade that improved the Sabres by 5%, he does it. If he makes 4 trades that improve the team 5%, all of a sudden, Buffalo is better by 20%. Darcy makes no trades, and the team gets worse. Plus, Buffalo is still playing with that weak uninspired style of play, and I still don’t think they believe that they can win. Lindy Ruff doesn't seem to be able to get his team motivated. However, even after winning on Tuesday night, Buffalo didn’t seem too excited, it was more along the lines of not believing that they had finally won a game.
This is still the time for a shake up on the team. Unfortunately, I don’t think a single thing will happen. Buffalo is going to keep the status quo right now, and see how it plays out. My only hope is that Buffalo can figure out what’s wrong this week they have off, and come off the break with a new found passion, and find a way to string together some wins, and get back in this race.
Keep in mind, it doesn’t necessarily matter where you are in the playoffs, as long as you make them. Right now, that’s the goal.