Tonight the Sabres play the Ottawa Senators at home. The last time that happened was the day after Christmas, with the Sabres getting a point out of the deal despite playing a terrible first period. In fact, the Sabres probably didn’t deserve the loser point at all, but there they were in the shootout with the chance to steal two.
The Sabres are in the middle of the pack when it comes to overtime losses. But out of those seven losses, five have come at home. Three (12/19 vs. Pitt, 12/26 vs. Ott, and 1/9 vs. Col) have come in the shootout, something the Sabres have struggled with all season.
As a fan you try not to let shootout or overtime losses bother you. The point is nice and in the playoffs the shootout won’t matter, but there is something very frustrating about giving away that extra point. They are the kind of losses that would keep me up at night if I slept like a normal person.
Instead, I look at the standings and see Washington’s home record and wonder what could be. The Caps have been on a tear, but all season they’ve dominated at home. A 21-3-3 home record is nothing short of spectacular well past the halfway point of the season.
Still, if you turn a few of those shootout losses into wins, Buffalo’s home record looks just as impressive. Some of those losses came down to a single goal the Sabres couldn’t get, or a save Miller and Lalime couldn’t manage to make. Change a few of those results around and Buffalo’s lead over Ottawa is much bigger, and the pressure a bit less apparant heading into tonight.
In the end the Sabres should have traded for Ales Kotalik.