Buffalo surprised their fans last night with a dramatic comeback on the Isle to walk away with 2 points. Over the last 4 games, Buffalo has 7 of a possible 8 points. Things are looking up, but a real test comes up on Wednesday against the Bruins.
Buffalo was in an early hole, due to sloppy defensive play, which, continued all night long. As Garth said, “Miller made 35 saves, the majority of which were Grade A chances...” Now, Miller is definitely the rock on this team. He’s playing to his full potential and making big saves when needed. Here’s the problem, the “Grade A” saves that he has to make, are saves that he shouldn’t have to make. The 3 goals that the Isles put in, are chances that teams like the Bruins and Rangers will not allow their opponents to make.
Want to stop putting yourself in this position where you have to come back? Stop giving up these simply phenomenal scoring chances that players dream about. The Sabres spacing when playing defense is the problem. Buffalo gives opponents space. In turn, they are allowed to get into the slot and have time to take great shots. Again, look to teams who restrict these chances. Their opponent shoots from the outside, and the goalie has a clear line of sight. Buffalo needs to start forcing their opponents to do this. At the start of the season, Buffalo did this very well. Miller had a clear view, and they challenged their opponents with the puck. Somewhere along the way, Buffalo’s stopped doing this. If Buffalo wants to be successful, this needs to happen. Now. If they do this against the Bruins, kiss that game good bye.
Buffalo’s offense has definitely improved. They are finally taking shots and using their speed. Buffalo has been lacking in this department for a long time. I firmly believe in the Wayne Gretzky philosophy of “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Buffalo finally seems to be embracing this. The Sabres are no longer trying to look for that fancy pass, or highlight real shot on net. The thought process for the Sabres appears to finally be, “If I have the shot, I’m taking it, and I CAN SCORE!.” The believe that Buffalo can score seems to be coming back to them.
With that believe, comes the never say die attitude. Hockey can be a very mental game. Confidence is huge. Buffalo seems to have regained some that confidence. A few weeks ago, Buffalo would give up 1 goal, and the game would be lost. However, the past 3 games, Buffalo has played very hard, and hasn’t given up. The team seems to be rallying, and playing with that desperation that they need to play with.
Last nights win was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Buffalo Sabres. Down 3-1, and able to cap off the comeback is something that Buffalo has been lacking. That never-say-die attitude is the stuff that Stanley Cup Champions are made of. Look at Boston last year, not a lot of teams could come back from a 2 games to none hole. This helps build on Buffalo’s confidence, and hopefully will let them continue to move forward.
Who knows what this season holds in store for the Sabres. Buffalo is currently putting together a little bit of a hot streak, and are doing what great teams do; finding ways to win. It may not be pretty, but a win’s a win, no matter how you get them.