The Sabres defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2 in the Sabres final home preseason game. The Sabres dominated the first two periods, however failed to come out and play in the third. They almost allowed the Leafs to tie the game on several occasions. This is very alarming. The Sabres CANNOT afford to let games slip away in the 3rd period this season. Last season, the Sabres too often attempted to sit on leads in the 3rd period, only to see it blow up in their face and lose the game.
This is a very serious issue, and I hope Ruff addresses it in the locker room. Or perhaps, Ruff is the problem; is he telling his team to play a more safe (i.e. LAZY) game in the 3rd period? I hope not, and I would hope Ruff knows his team better than that. The Sabres are at their best when they're on the attack, playing aggressively and trying to score. They are not a team that can play well enough defensively to suck the life out of their opponent. If the Sabres are to be successful this year and reach the playoffs, they'll need to CLOSE GAMES out in the 3rd, not attempt to sit on one goal leads.
Either way, it was good to see the Sabres beat Toronto and come out on top in a close game. Its always fun in the HSBC when the Maple Leafs come to town
Sporadic Thoughts On The Game
-Tallinder is done. Get this guy off the team. He plays with no passion, and looks like Dmitri Kalinin (i.e. just going through the motions). He had a couple of decent plays here and there, but for the most part, he was just flat and lazy. Massively underachieving.
-Montador had a pretty bad night. He passed the freaking puck onto a Maple Leaf's stick 10 feet in front of Miller. Luckily Miller made a huge save and bailed his ass out. Montador was placed on the powerplay several times, and he looked very, very out of place. Unsure of what to do with the puck. He's not a powerplay dman, so I was a little clueless as to why he was placed there (maybe just to see what he could do?). The local media seems to be hyping up his performance tonight; this I CANNOT understand. From what I saw, he had a very bad showing.
-Paetsch played well, especially on the power play. He has a knack for getting pucks to the net on the PP.
-Myers was excellent, this kid is ready. Bring him up. Another year in the juniors would be a waste of his time. He works along the corners, has good presence on the PP and isn't afraid to pinch to keep the puck in the opposing zone. I like it.
-Cowan was rocking #23...Not sure how I feel about that. He played fairly well however. I liked his intensity (and his fight).
-Having Grier back on the team is HUGE. The Grier Goose Hecht line was our best line of the night. They were gritty every shift, and had a few scoring opportunities. Those guys look good together. I expect that to be our regular 3rd line when the season begins.
-The Sabres looked dominant the first 40 minutes...then failed to show up AT ALL in the final 20. Not a good sign for things ahead.
-Miller looked good.
-Seemed like the Sabres were DESTROYED in faceoffs. Anyone have stats on that?
-I like how Pommers played. He's willing to play down low, and he seems to be a very calming presence on the offense. Everything he does is very smooth, and very calculated.
-Drew Stafford was rocking a cage after the 1st period. Im assuming he got high sticked?
Overall, the things that stick with me the most are:
-Mike Grier looking GOOD.
-Being unimpressed with Montador.
-The Sabres dominating the first two periods, then giving up in the third (aka failing to play the full 60).
What are your thoughts on the game? Is Tallinder done for good? How did Tyler Myers look? Should the Sabres be concerned about their lack of a full 60 minute effort?
Leave me some feedback.
James "Grier The Dark Knight"