It's hard to fault the Sabres effort tonight but they still failed to score goals. It became painfully evident that the Sabres are a one and sometimes two line team. The only line that was able to generate any offense was Vanek, Roy and Connolly. Hecht and Pominville are obviously capable but unfortunately Daniel Paille is not an offensive juggernaut. I'd be remiss if I didn't give some credit to Ty Conklin who was once again outstanding. The Ty Conklin story is an amazing one, he has been a journeyman and even spent time in the minors before taking over for an injured Marc-Andre Fluery.
Here are some quotes from the game recap on NHL.com...
"Certainly we had to weather a bit of a storm early, but I think we got our legs under us as the game went on," said Conklin, who improved to 15-4-3 since taking over the starting job from injured Marc-Andre Fleury. "We capitalized on our breaks."
"When your goalie's giving you the performance like Ty gave us, it gives your team some confidence," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "He's a big part of the reason why we had success."
"Same story, a different game," said Vanek. "We have to be pleased with the effort, but it's still a loss."
"The first 15 minutes, we played picture perfect," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We have to hold ourselves responsible for not putting them into the back of the net."
If that doesn't some up tonights game I don't know what will. The Sabres had some golden opportunities and they failed to convert. Tim Connolly was robbed by Conklin after receiving a pass from Derek Roy. Thomas Vanek somehow found a way to miss a wide open net. The Sabres are not in a position where they can afford to miss opportunities and tonight they did just that.
Until now I have stayed away from criticizing Brian Campbell but it appears that his current contract status has become a huge distraction to him. It is painfully obvious that they need to either sign him or trade him very soon because it is affecting his play on the ice. I still think Campbell is a great player and I hope they sign him but with his current situation he is not helping the team.
The Sabres remain in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference but they need to win their two games this week against Tampa and Toronto if they are going to make a push for the playoffs. It was not a good weekend for the team that was the hottest team in hockey, being outscored 9-2 against teams they are chasing in the standings.