It's tough to win in the NHL when you get outworked, and it's especially tough for a team like Buffalo to beat a team as talented as the Penguins when they submit an effort like they did last night. Yes, they were playing their third game in four nights, but there's no excuse for being outshot 35-21 and possessing the puck for what seemed like a total of about five minutes.
Buffalo isn't talented enough to win many games on any other than hard work and sound defense, and last night they had neither. Ron Rolston and new away captain Steve Ott must find a way to get things going both on the road, and at the end of a 3-in-4 stretch, if only for the fan's sake. If we have to sit though many more games like that this season, 79 more games might be tough to stomach.
Vanek Scores, But Offense Still Sputtering
Thomas Vanek snagged a nifty goal late in the third period (with the assist from Cody Hodgson) but it was far too little to late for the Sabres offense yet again. Buffalo now has two goals in three games, and their power play continues to look inept.
Buffalo's passing last night was simply atrocious, and when you can't complete passes, it becomes almost impossible to hang on to the puck or enter the offensive zone. The Sabres best line last night was Girgensons, Porter, and Flynn, simply because they gave the best effort and actually won some battles along the boards. The other three lines couldn't get anything going until the end of the game, and the Sabres continue to struggle because of it.
The one man who kept the Sabres in the game last night was their starting goaltender. That will be a theme of this season, and after two strong efforts from Ryan Miller, the Sabres received a strong performance from backup Jhonas Enroth. Making 31 saves, including a number of the game-saving third period variety, the combo of Enroth and Miller will likely be the lynchpin that holds this season together for Buffalo.
Three Things To Watch For
1. Can the Sabres score more than one goal? Is that even possible?
2. Who will get injured tonight?
Thankfully, the Sabres escaped last night without suffering any further injuries. And that's about the best thing that happened in this game.
3. Will the Sabres pick up their first win of the season tonight in Pittsburgh?
They say that hindsight is 20/20, and looking back, it seems I probably should have picked a better third question here.
Comment of the Game
On the bright side, we’ve yet to allow a power play goal.
Way to look at the bright side.