We are all going to lose a little bit of sleep tonight but Sabres fans figure to lose a little more. The Sabres continue to struggle against the Ottawa Senators falling 6-3. To make matter worse for Buffalo, all the teams that are in the playoff hunt were victorious.
It was easy to tell early on that it was going to be a tough game for Buffalo. The Sabes were dominating the Senators early and yet a power play goal by Daniel Alfredsson was the only goal on the scoreboard. The Sabres eventually tied it but it seemed inevitable that the Sens would somehow get the momentum back.
This loss will set the Sabres back dramatically in their quest to the playoffs but it's not the end of the world. There are still 16 games left for the Sabres and they play eight at home and eight on the road. If 92 is the magic number, and I think it is, than the Sabres need 19 points to make the playoffs. That is nine wins and a one-point loss if you're figuring at home.
Power Play Stays Hot (The Good)
The Sabres remain hot on the power play. It didn't help tonight but scoring power play goals is a great way to win hockey games. Buffalo was an impressive 3-for-5 on the power play with goals scored by Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht.
Even more impressive was the Sabres had only 5:36 seconds of power play time and managed to score three goals on only seven shots. This does raise some concern about the 5-on-5 play but it's never bad to have a good power play.
Lalime Allowed Six (The Bad)
This loss was not a matter of poor goaltending but with that being said, Patrick Lalime was no where near as good tonight as he has been the last four games. It was the first time all season that Lalime played on back-to-back nights and he may have been fatigued.
Lalime mad 30 saves but allowed six goals in the loss. He allowed three goals on the short side which is a sure sign that a goalie is not in proper position. It could have been fatigue or maybe he just didn't feel comfortable tonight but Lalime can not be happy with his performance.
It was an easy decision to play Lalime tonight because he has been so good lately but it's nice to have Tellqvist to give him a rest.
Volchenkov Could be Suspended
Patrick Kaleta was as effective as ever tonight. He forced Jason Spezza to take a dumb penalty early and continued his hard play throughout tonight. When Kaleta is at his best he has the other team searching for him and he did that tonight. One player that might be wishing he didn't have an opportunity to hit Kaleta is Anton Volchenkov. In the second period Volchenkov took a two minute boarding penalty for hitting Kaleta from behind on what I would term as a cheapshot. Volchenkov left his feet and went right at the head of Patrick Kaleta.
Kaleta is no stranger to cheapshots from opponents. He was sucker-punched earlier in the season by Denis Gauthier and it went unpunished by the league but I suspect this one will be different. The league will hold it's General Manager meetings this Monday with one of the main topics being headshots. If they are serious about eliminating headshots this deserves a suspension.
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
After Derek Roy turned the puck over in the Ottawa zone Harry said...
"More turnovers than a Betty Crocker show"
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The Sabres will remain on the road to take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. It will be a Versus telecast and the Sabres usually play well against Philly on Versus.