“I really don’t like them. They’re a rival. They’re in our division. They’re constantly talking about how they’re going to rough me up every night. I love nothing more than to win against them and send them an hour and a half on their way.”- Ryan Miller
I think that’s all you need to know about last night’s game. Ryan Miller doesn’t like Toronto, and so we beat Toronto. Again and again. It’s a good system, and there’s nothing that makes me happier than a sad line of cars sitting at the Queenston-Lewiston bridge.
Now it’s a bit alarming that the Sabres refuse to stand up for their goaltender against Toronto or any team, but right now I can’t bring myself to talk poorly about this team. Toronto helped them out a lot last night, but the Sabres don’t win that game without playing great special teams hockey. The penalty kill was great, the power play was clicking, and Tyler Myers played the best game of his career against a team every Sabres fan hates.
But seriously, how bad is the Leafs penalty kill? Shouldn’t something be done about it at this point? You just can’t win many hockey games with a PK that bad, and going 3 for 3 on the power play had everything to do with Toronto’s lackluster effort on the kill. They don’t do… anything good when down a man. They aren’t aggressive on the point, they aren’t aggressive down low, and they don’t cover shooting lanes at all. If it were a matter of them overdoing something and getting caught it could be corrected, but I can’t figure out what they do wrong because it seems like they do nothing at all.
The Sabres’ effort in the third was cause for concern, but after getting a comfortable lead it’s pretty easy to imagine them looking forward to tonight. Conserving energy is important with a compact schedule, but without Miller standing tall this game finishes a whole lot worse for the team. The last 20 minutes are sure to be addressed by the coaching staff, but once again I still can’t hate the end result for this team.
What strikes me about this week’s opponents is that after each game I’ve said the same thing: their defense is bad. Still, the good news is that this is the Sabres taking advantage of this bad defense. For a team that used to struggle in the “goals for” category they are suddenly getting a very balanced scoring effort and taking advantage when another team struggles.
Oh, and Tyler Myers should win the Calder. That is all.