Posted 10:49 PM ET | Comments 9
I sat down Friday night to watch the Sabres pound Toronto. On paper, it looked very simple. Buffalo, vs Toronto. Buffalo should have run away with this one before it began. Surprise, it didn't happen.
Buffalo had fairly good pressure all night long. However, Gustavsson was impressive, but Buffalo couldn't put it home. Numerous attempts failed, and the evening culminated in poor scoring opportunities. I have written numerous times about cleaning up Buffalo's play or it will come back to haunt them. It almost did on Friday, and definitely did on Saturday.
There is no excuse for Buffalo going to overtime against the Leafs. This should have been straight forward and simple. Sloppy play led to Toronto staying in this game. Even when Buffalo had a power play in the end of the third period, leading by one, they let the Leafs come into this game and stay there, eventually tying the game, and sending it to overtime. In the third period, Buffalo was out-shot 16-5. Buffalo, of all teams should know, no team is safe until the buzzer goes at the end of the third period.
Even scarier, the Sabres gave up a clean cut break away to the Leaf's Lee Stempniak on a power play. This isn't characteristic of the team that has the best record in the division. However, this was a preview of what was to come against the Isles.
I missed this game. I saw the first period, and then had a prior engagement. When i left, it was a manageable 1-0 lead for the Islanders. When I got back to a TV, i saw it was 5-0 Isles. This isn't characteristics of a team making a serious run at the Cup. Perhaps it could be back to back games for the Sabres, but I'm not sure what it is. However, this is two games back to back, against the 15th placed Leafs, and the 10th place Isles that Buffalo had looked poor in. If something doesn't change soon, Buffalo may have some big problems when they face some of the better teams in the lead.
The Sabres still do have a very competitive team this season. However, they need to return to the defensive tactic of putting pressure on the opponents offense. When that is done, opponents rush shots, and will not be able to get quality shots. Hopefully, the Sabres will take tonight's loss to heart, bounce back, and strike back in the rematch on Wednesday against the Isles.