I think that the most entertaining part of tonight’s game against the Bruins, was watching Boston miss the empty net a few times in the past 2 minutes. Poor play and questionable decisions, and Buffalo has now dropped 2 of their last 3.
Buffalo made the mistake of playing the wrong goalies, in the wrong games. Carolina is the game that Enroth should have started in. Carolina is sitting at the bottom of the East. Odds are against them making the playoffs, and it’s one of the games that I have pegged as a game for Buffalo to win (will explain this later). Logically, you play the backup in those games. As the season develops, there are certain teams where the coaching staff can identify as games for the backup to play in. Games against bad teams, during a stretch of playing 4 games in 6 nights, is a no brainer. Enroth should have gotten the nod from Lindy Ruff to play against the Hurricanes. You want your best goaltender to go up against the better teams. Miller against the Bruins, I think Buffalo would have had a better shot with him in goal (I’m not saying they would have won).
To me, it’s logical. Backup goalie goes in against the team that’s struggling or who are low in the standings. Your #1, goes up against the better teams. It’s called, giving your team the best chance to get 2 points, especially when your team needs as many points as possible.
That’s just the first part of the questionable play and decisions made by the Sabres recently. Buffalo has played pretty sloppy hockey recently. Buffalo didn’t really look to hot against the Hurricanes, and were lucky to walk away with 2 points. Winnipeg, again was a must win, and Buffalo failed to show up. Buffalo squeaks by the Canes, and then goes up against the Bruins, and put in the back up, and get pretty much dominated. Not to mention that fact that Buffalo got 20 shots on goal, against one of the best goalies in the game right now. 20 shots.
There’s one word to describe that
Even after going down by 1 goal, what does Buffalo do tonight? Show a spark for 2 seconds, and then tank again.
Now, I don’t need to hear how Pominville and Vanek have gotten out of their slumps. To dust this off, I care about the Sabres getting points. By Buffalo playing this lackluster hockey, they are not going to get points, and are not going to make it to the playoffs. It’s sad when Buffalo’s best line over the past 3 games has been the 4th line of Boyes, Tropp, and Ellis.
I thought Hodgson was supposed to come in and spark this team? He’s looked alright, at times he makes smart decisions with the puck. How’s he contributing on the scoreboard? Oh wait, he hasn’t, unless you count the turnover tonight that led to Boston’s first goal.
I shouldn’t rip on Hodgson too bad though. Every trade deadline, the Buffalo faithful get excited and think that the new player is going to be the next savior of the team. Happened with Boyes last year too. How about Steve Bernier? He never delivered. Dainius Zubrus was a let down too.
The lack of ability to score for team is mind numbing. What ever happened to the coach who continued to shuffle lines in order to get players to start playing better? Ruff isn’t doing anything, and it’s crunch time. Buffalo needs to play every game as though it’s an elimination playoff game. Buffalo is playing like it’s still the start of the season, and there’s time to spare. There’s no reason why Buffalo couldn’t have beaten the Bruins tonight. However, they looked like they were doomed from the start.
Looking forward, I’m looking at who Buffalo has left on the schedule. I’ve designated certain games as clutch games for the Sabres. To me, these are games that Buffalo HAS to win. They are games that Buffalo is more than capable of winning, and there is no excuses as to why they lost. These games, are gifts right now at this point in the season, and should be viewed as games where Buffalo can get 2 points.
Here are my “clutch” games for the Sabres (in order of when they’re played); Ottawa, Montreal, Colorado, Florida, Tampa Bay, Montreal again, Minnesota, Washington, and Toronto (both games). That’s 10 games out of the final 14 for Buffalo this season. Buffalo also plays Boston, Rangers, Penguins, and the Flyers during the last 14. The teams I listed that are clutch games, are teams where Buffalo is close to standings wise or ahead of. These are teams that Buffalo is supposedly even with on paper. There is no reason to lose these games. These are the teams that Buffalo is fighting with for playoff spots.Why would you want to put in a half hearted effort against them?
However, if Buffalo is to make it to the playoffs, the efforts over the past 3 games need to be fixed. Time to play with 100% effort from everyone every single night. Everyone needs to chip in, and contribute. No more about how Roy, Vanek, and Pominville need to step up. It’s unfair to them to say that. Everyone needs to step up.
This time of year, coaches need to make smart decisions for their team. Teams need to play with determination, grit, and with 100% effort. Buffalo isn’t doing either of those things right now. Pominville stated “We’ve dug ourselves in a big hole that isn’t easy to get ourselves out of. But we believe.” That was after last nights win against the Canes.
Really? The Sabres believe?
Time to start playing like you believe.