Patrick Lalime did himself no favors last night in his attempt to get more starts as the backup goaltender of the Buffalo Sabres. He allowed 4 goals on 27 shots, and I would argue that none of which could be classified as a "big" save. In fact, at all crucial moments (such as after Stafford's goal), Lalime came up pretty small. This is the theme of his Sabres career at this point. The question is:
What are the Sabres to do about it? Since Martin Biron left town, the Sabres have been searching for a backup goaltender they could trust. Jocelyn Thibault and now Patrick Lalime have failed to gain the trust of Lindy Ruff. The consequence of this is the tiring of Ryan Miller. With the Olympics interrupting the season (in which Miller is sure to be a part of team USA), the team cannot afford to ride Miller too hard. On the flip side, the team also cannot afford to lose most of the games a backup goaltender starts. Losing a majority is OK, losing almost all of them will be one of the things the team and the fans look back on as an excuse for why the team misses the playoffs once again.
The biggest failure this offseason was the failure to address this need and it could end up costing them. The Sabres play tighter defensively with Lalime in net and when they fall behind (as the almost always do w/ Lalime in goal) and they have to "go for it" offensively, a puck almost always ends up in the net killing any shot for a rally. While only one start, it is the cumulative effect of 3 seasons worth of problems that tells me the Sabres cannot afford to wait to act.