Recap: Sabres find spark in third period, still lose 2-1

Jonathan Daniel

A strong third period couldn't overcome a horrible first and second, and Buffalo found themselves on the losing end of a 2-1 score in Chicago.

A third period to build on

Thus far, the Buffalo Sabres have generally failed to put forth the effort and energy it takes to win games in the National Hockey League. Too often this team has found itself losing battles along the boards, failing to maintain any type of offensive pressure, and getting outshot night after night. And through the first two periods against Chicago, the story was much the same.

But if we're going to take any good out of this game, it's that the Sabres may have finally found that extra gear they've been lacking all season. Buffalo outshot Chicago 13-3 in the third after being outshot themselves 37-16 through the first two periods. They put consistent pressure on Corey Crawford for the final five minutes, and some nice offensive zone cycling and nifty passing resulted in more than few quality chances. Yes, it was clear that Chicago took their foot off the gas in the third, but this is the kind of period the Sabres can build on heading in to their game on Monday against Minnesota.

Miller spectacular once again

Ryan Miller is certainly putting together a fine season for Team USA hockey to look at, and is increasing his trade value by the day. A 38 save performance once again included a whole bunch of the game-saving variety among the more pedestrian stops. As great as Miller's performance was, it still wasn't enough to win, but he's giving this team a chance to stay in games they have no business being in, like last night's.

Drew Stafford scores

Make sure you remember where you were when this happened, so you can tell your grandkids about it.

Three Things To Watch For

1. Can the new lines and pairings find any chemistry?

Things looked better in the third period, but aside from Vanek-Hodgson-whoever, the offense still wasn't clicking. At least the defense didn't push Miller in to his own net tonight.

2. How will Mikhail Grigorenko respond to being a healthy scratch?

Pretty well, actually. He actually won a few battles in this game and generally seemed more energetic in his skating. Griggy was in on some offensive chances, and Rolston had him out with the top line during the final two minute scramble.

3. Are these photos of the rafters in the United Center depressing or what?

Yep, they still are.

Three Stars

1. Corey Crawford - He survived a wild third period to secure the win
2. Ryan Miller - Kept Buffalo in a game it had business being in
3. Patrick Sharp - All over the ice with five shots and an assist

Comment of the Game

Oh look, we got scored on. Something something long season.

- AcesNines

Are we at that point already? There's 76 more of these to go.

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