Posted 10:38 PM ET | Comments 3
I could do a few things with this blog tonight.
I could talk about how turnovers are a hockey teams worst enemy.
I could say how Buffalo has been on a hot streak, and were due to lose.
I could talk about how certain Buffalo players need to step up in a game like this.
I could talk about how Buffalo is completing a pretty long road trip, and that they just simply ran out of gas tonight in Winnipeg.
I could analyze this game and point out the exact areas where Buffalo needs to improve.
I could do that....
All these things, one will hear tonight after the Buffalo vs. Winnipeg game. I’ll even bet one will read these things once one logs onto HockeyBuzz later tonight as well.
All these things I mentioned have one thing in common.
They are excuses Nothing more, nothing less.
Tonight’s game in Winnipeg was huge. If Buffalo managed to win this game, all of a sudden, Buffalo is in 100% control of their own fate. Not to mention that they would be in 8th place with 1 game in hand still on the Jets. Buffalo would then have the opportunity to put some distance between them and the teams behind them. They are playing all the teams competing for that final spot, in the upcoming month. Again, had they won, Buffalo was in 8th place, and in charge.
There are certain games that come up throughout the course of a season that are must wins; teams fighting for the division, teams fighting for that last and final playoff spot, teams fighting for home ice advantage, and every single game in the playoffs.
Tonight was one of those games for both teams. Buffalo needed this win. Forget the fact that Buffalo is on the tail end of a really long road trip. This was the game that was marked on the calendar at the start of this trip. This was the one where Buffalo had to show up and play hard.
I think we can all agree that Buffalo showed up, but they certainly didn’t play hard.
Buffalo needed to be pumped up coming into Winnipeg tonight. They needed to come out with a level of desperation and determination. The coaches and captains needed to get this team fired up for 1 more game before Buffalo’s homecoming on Wednesday.
I don’t think anyone can point to a cause for Buffalo’s loss. There is no reason for Buffalo to play like this in a clutch game. This is the game that teams must find a way to win. Buffalo, needed to find a way to win this one tonight. They didn’t.
This was one of those 4 point games. However, keep something else in mind moving forward. Buffalo wins this game, they control their fate. WIth this loss tonight, Buffalo isn’t just 4 points out, make it 5. A tie in the standings no longer does it for Buffalo to get in against Winnipeg. Buffalo needs to have more points than Winnipeg to get into the playoffs. A tie just won’t do it.
If there is any shot of Buffalo getting into the playoffs, this cannot happen again. Buffalo is playing the Leafs twice this month. Buffalo needs to win both games. Buffalo needs to beat the Capitals when they meet up towards the end of March. Despite how this season has gone, we all want to see Buffalo get into the playoffs. Tonight’s game is an example of how a team plays when they don’t want to make the playoffs.
Like I said before, there will be a lot of excuses for this loss tonight, I’m sure of it.
At this point in the season, you must win these games. Buffalo failed to deliver tonight. With a game of this magnitude... There ARE no excuses for a loss.