Better effort but the same result. Buffalo out shot Florida 46-25 but the scoreboard read 2-1 in favor of Florida when the final horn sounded. Ex Rochester American Goalie Craig Anderson stymied the Sabres shooters all night and made 45 saves in the Panthers victory. In fact the only time the Sabres beat Anderson was with a 5-on-3 advantage in the third period. Ales Kotalik netted his seventh of the season and his fifth power play goal.
Nobody can fault the effort the Sabres put forth tonight, it was leaps and bounds ahead of the effort on Monday night. The problem is that this loss is even more frustrating than the one on Monday. At least on Monday it was painfully obvious why the Sabres lost, tonight was a different story. Buffalo fired shots from everywhere on the ice but just couldn't put the puck behind red-hot Goalie Craig Anderson.
Anderson is reportedly the backup in Florida but he has been outstanding when given the chance. He has only one loss in regulation this season and he proved tonight that his 1.99 Goals Against Average and .943 save percentage are no fluke. The Panthers find themselves in a comfortable position between the pipes with Anderson and Thomas Vokoun.
The Panthers goals were both scored in the second period and came 35 seconds apart. The first goal was scored by Gregory Campbell and the eventual game winner came of the stick of Keith Ballard. Ballard fired a shot from the face off circle that beat Ryan Miller through the five hole. An area that Miller has seemed vulnerable this season. The victory gives the Panthers the exact same record as the Sabres as Buffalo slides down the standings in the Eastern Conference.
Tonight's loss is the third straight loss for the Sabres and their eighth in their last 10 games. They are lucky to be 11-11-3 with the way they have played in the last 10 games. It's easy to point fingers when things are as bad as they are in Buffalo but let's take it for what it was...a game the Sabres should have won but they couldn't finish. A lot of credit has to be given to Anderson but this once powerful offense needs to find ways to score...and I believe they will. The question is when?
What's up Next?
Buffalo will remain in Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. Buffalo lost to Tampa Bay 5-2 at the HSBC Arena earlier in the season but it's an entirely different team with a brand new coach. Since the last time the two teams played Barry Melorose was fired and replaced by Rick Tochett.
The Game Thread was one of the better threads of the season, at least until the game appeared out of reach. Thanks to Whale4ever, Joan O., Junior57, dfderie and qdloser for spending some time with us during another Sabres loss.
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
After giving so much praise for Harry... he too let me down tonight. I didn't catch any one-liners but maybe I missed it. help me out in the comments if I missed one.