I think this picture sums up the night:
Even after getting murdered at home on Monday, there were a few excuses floating around. Long travel day, backup goaltender, catching a good team getting out of a slump. It’s no fun to accept those things, but you move on after a game like that.
There are no excuses for tonight. None. Your team is getting healthier, your starting goaltender is in net, and you are playing a terrible hockey team. And you went out there and did that? Wow. Don’t you feel like the final score should be completely reversed? That would make a whole lot more sense, right?
Oh, and about that starting goaltender…
It’s only one bad game so I’m not going to get too upset. Still, isn’t this why we have a reliable backup that can play 15-20 games? Nights off are supposed to eliminate games like this, right? Miller has a lot to do with the Sabres’ fast start, and they owe him a lot during all these defensive injuries. If he isn’t right, this first ten games will be a flash in the pan instead of a sign of something good to come.
The entire game is frustrating because everything should have been easier. The defensive effort from Tampa was awful. Buffalo had a much easier time gaining the blue line last night, and at times there was simply no point pressure on the power play. Vanek had his tip late in the second, but 1 for 5 on the power play isn’t taking advantage, especially when you’re in that big a hole early.
What is really bothersome about this game is that Tampa didn’t do anything to blow your mind. They had decent rushes, their skill players made some decent plays, and they got shots on goal. That’s it. There wasn’t some Herculean effort made by one player to lift his team past a good goaltender, there wasn’t a big man on the point shutting down the high powered Sabres offense.
The Sabres did this to themselves; a vintage performance you saw ten months ago but hoped was dead and buried. There’s plenty of blame to go around on this one, but you just have to hope it was a clunker they needed to get out of the way. Bad games happen to good teams, and sometimes they happen twice in a row.
All I know is that Saturday better not be another bad game. Two straight is a mistake, three straight has me throwing around the “o” word.