When you go out with a dozen or so bloggers to watch a Sabres game, you end up talking more than watching the game itself. So, I wanted to watch the game again before I really talked about it in length. The exercise was somewhat pointless: I saw the same things this time around, just more of them. Here they are:
– Someone else mentioned it to me, but I’ve completely bought into it now: Sidney Crosby is inside Ryan Miller’s head. We all know Miller dislikes the Leafs, but rarely does he call out individual players. He’s done it before with Phil Kessel, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Crosby is slipping into that category as well.
The obvious thing to point to is the penalty Miller took when he tripped Crosby, but I’m thinking about Crosby’s third goal. Miller’s lateral movement wasn’t great on the first one, and the backhanded clear to Crosby was terrible, but on the third goal Ryan Miller was buying whatever Sidney was selling there. He bit on the little fake and Crosby made it look way too easy.
Everyone is talking about what this means for Team USA, but I could not possibly care less about that. What I’m wondering about are the first and second round matchups in the playoffs, and whether Miller will be comfortable in a seven game series against a guy like that. Miller seems to be unshakable at times, but against Pittsburgh he has been anything but.
– Am I really worried about the Penguins? No, not at all. Why not? Their defense is absolutely terrible. It’s something I noticed when they were having major goaltending issues on the west coast, but even with Marc-Andre Fleury back the problems have not been fixed. I don’t care what the numbers say, the Penguins suck defensively right now.
The forecheck is negligible, their zone play is awful, and their pursuit on the penalty kill is less than inspiring. No one seemed to care about back checking on the Kennedy goal or Vanek goal, and the Sabres had a metric ton of chances with powder blue sweaters looking on with wonder. It was an unimpressive outing from the Stanley Cup Champions, and I don’t know what teams are looking at them with fear these days.
– Tyler Myers’ first game as a 20-year-old was probably the worst of his career. He didn’t look comfortable at all, and Sabres fans can only hope he had a bad piece of cake or didn’t get the magic set he asked for.
– Despite only scoring the one goal, I thought Thomas Vanek looked great all game. If he starts hitting the net on all the chances he’s had our goal scoring issues will be a thing of the past.
– I think Monday night showed yet again that the Sabres are nowhere near perfect. They are prone to defensive breakdowns and bad games from their goaltender just like the rest of the league. Where there were stretches where Buffalo looked better than the Pens in every facet of the game, one big line made the difference once again.
If the Penguins played about 2600 miles to the west I would have already talked about this. Instead it’s just another example of the needs this team has.