With about 15 minutes to go in the third period last night, I was thinking about the Florida Panthers.
Call it foolish, call it looking ahead, call it whatever you like: I knew the Sabres were going to win and was already on to the next game. The lead was 3-1, the Sabres looked to be in complete control, and they would go on to win the game just like I said. Sure, things got a bit shaky there at the end, but the team was there and Miller made the saves to secure the win. Just another two points, right?
But seriously, what the hell is wrong with me? I’m completely serious about last night, I was tweeting my complacency all night and not worried about a jinx at all. That’s something I can’t remember happening, so something must be up here.
Maybe I was just in a good mood yesterday, or maybe I liked what I saw out of the team. Still, the Sabres were missing three important pieces against an opponent in one of those “must-win” situations us fans love to talk about. Boston wasn’t supposed to be an easy out, and maybe they weren’t in the end, but I was never really worried about the game. This is most certainly not a bad thing, I just wonder where all this confidence came from. I’m still in the haze of “I have no idea what is going on with this team,” yet there I was with an even pulse down the stretch last night.
What I keep coming back to is this: how much does one game matter? We know the actual value of winning a hockey game in the NHL, but the real impact of that win or loss is still undecided. Take the game against Montreal on Friday: it was supposed to be the Game To End All Games, the one where the Sabres would finally beat Ottawa and push forward into the postseason firing on all cylinders. But they lost the game and two very important players in Connolly and Kaleta.
Still, there they were a night later beating a bad team like Tampa Bay. It was a win so convincing a lot of people forgot how badly they played against the Senators just 24 hours beforehand. It looked like a different team because it was, with Tyler Ennis in the lineup and making all the ladies (and
And then there’s last night, with Ryan Miller keeping the Sabres in it early and Tim Thomas vomiting all over himself. It was just that simple, and despite the chaos at the end it still felt like an easy two points. All of a sudden the season is starting to feel over, with seven games left and the end actually in sight. The magic number is six, and all of a sudden I’m very, very excited about this team. The numbers are there, time is running out, and before you know it there will be beards all over the place around here.
Still, with the season coming to a close you have to wonder about that Game To End All Games. The Ottawa Problem still exists, and we haven’t really discussed it all that much here. The more I think about it, the more I’m looking at April 10 in Ottawa as the last hurdle this team has before the playoffs start. I’m not one to get complacent about a flawed hockey team with a world class goaltender, and Ottawa is still at the top of the list when it comes to flaws.
We’ve got a long way to go here, but I’d like to know if she floats before we make a decision on anything.