Buffalo (20-9-2) vs. Ottawa (16-12-4)
Since the 2005-2006 season, the Senators have dominated the Sabres, winning 21 of 31.
On Wednesday night, it remained that way.
After the first period the Senators were only up 1-0. I say ONLY because of Ryan Miller. The game could have easily been out of reach for Buffalo.
Alexandre Picard was the one to finally get the puck past Miller in the first. Buffalo had trouble getting things going and could not generate any scoring chances. Shots were 11-5 in favor of Ottawa after the opening period.
The second period involved much more physical play. Both teams started to throw around their bodies. Then, Jarkko Ruutu deliverd a head shot to Patrick Kaleta, earning a five minute boarding penalty. However, Ruutu was not ejected from the game, only a five minute penalty.
I thought the NHL was trying to crack down on head shots. In my view, Ruutu should have been ejected along with the penalty. I'm sure the NHL will look into a possible suspension because it was a clean and deliberate shot to the head. This is not the first time Ruutu has aggrevated the Sabres. Last season, he bit Andrew Peters while they were in a scrum.
Kaleta left the game and did not return. I was disappointed to see that nobody went after Ruutu. Buffalo needs to start protecting their players. The Sabres did keep up with the physical play as Adam Mair, Matt Ellis, Steve Montador, and Mike Grier finished their checks.
Buffalo began putting on much more pressure in the second. They had a couple of chances, but Brian Elliot kept Ottawa up 1-0.
Steve Montador has moved up on my list of most hated Sabres of the moment. Over the last few games, he has been making bad turnovers, costing the Sabres goals. During the game, Montador sat behind the net with the puck, waiting for the team to change. Okay, not a bad idea. Maybe Buffalo will get a nice rush going, I thought.
No. Montador tried a pass all the way to Ottawa's blue line, turning over the puck. He's done it multiple times this season. It is the short, quick passes that work, not the hail mary passes.
Ottawa remained up 1-0 after two.
To start the third, Buffalo killed off a 5 on 3 to keep themselves in the game. The Sabres had a couple of powerplays, but were unable to score. Mike Fisher finished them off, scoring with a minute and a half remaining.
Sens win 2-0. Miller was the only reason this game was close. He stopped 26 of 28 shots, including a few that looked like sure goals.
Is it possible for the Sabres to win five in a row this year? They have had four tries at winning their fifth consecutive game, but failed each time. Buffalo finishes 2-1 on their three game road trip. They will head back home to take on Toronto and Pittsburgh this weekend.
For more Sabres information, visit http://www.sabreshockeycentral.com/
Kevin "Fear the Grier" Freiheit