USA TODAY Sports
The Buffalo Sabres earned loud and relentless boos from the crowd during an abysmal first two periods, and a slightly better third period couldn't save them in a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg.
"I understand it. I totally understand it. I'm embarrassed. Totally understand it."
That was Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff's response to a question about the crowd reaction during tonight's game against Winnipeg. A sellout crowd at the First Niagara Center lustily and repeatedly booed the hometown Sabres during a second period that featured play more reminiscent of the "Look How Terrible These Guys Are" montage of your favorite sports movie than actual professional hockey.
Buffalo slogged their way through the first two periods, and even though they turned it around slightly in the third, it wasn't enough. Winnipeg came in to this game ranking 33rd in GAA and save percentage (Pavelec) and 32nd on the penalty kill. The Sabres managed just one goal, and their three power play opportunities looked mostly pathetic.
- Another game, another goal allowed in the first minute for the Sabres. A defensive breakdown (surprise) left Bryan Little all alone in front, and the Sabres go down 1-0. And the crowd goes into shutdown mode.
- Drew Stafford started the game on the fourth line, and got only 1:55 of ice time in the first, but by the end of the period he was back with Ennis and Foligno.
- Winnipeg came in to this game ranked dead last on the PK. Guess who generated more offense in the first period, the Buffalo PP or the Winnipeg PK? Anyone who's watched a Sabres game this season knows the answer.
- An ugly, boring period of hockey saw the Sabres leave the ice to boos. The tension in the arena is palpable.
- And there we have it. Ruff breaks up his top line for the first time all season, dropping Vanek down to play with Ennis and Foligno while promoting Gerbe. Wait, Nathan Gerbe is now on the top line?!?!
- A tremendous giveaway by Gerbe at his own blue line leads to an Andrew Ladd goal. Boo birds rain down as the Sabres fall behind 2-0.
- The Sabres are playing one of their worst periods of the season, and fans are booing at every whistle and mock cheering every time the Sabres manage to dump and change. This is brutal.
- But of course, Jason Pominville smartly converts a late 2-on-1, and the Sabres are right in it heading to the third after two god-awful periods of hockey.
- The Sabres came out and played their best hockey to start the third period. They had about five solid minutes of zone control, crisp passing, a bit of luck, and some nice chances. They even got some real non-sarcastic cheers.
- By the middle of the third, the Sabres were losing steam. I suppose 40 minutes of chasing the puck around in your own zone will do that.
- A late power play opportunity and a spirited 6-on-5 at the end didn't amount to anything, and the Sabres lose their fourth in five games.
Quotes From The Locker Room
- "You have to play chess sometimes, willingness to play the long game. You gotta hold on, you gotta limit chances, you gotta give yourself the best opportunity to come out on the other end of the chance sheet, the puck control sheet. There's many things there, it just takes commitment. You gotta play more chess."
- "We didn't start to skate till the third period. It's true. It [effort] should be questioned."
- "We gotta take a hard look at everything, is what we have to do. Yeah, we really do."
Post Game Audio
Comment of the Game
Scott only pawn… in game of hockey
Apologies to Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks
Up Next: @ Toronto, Thursday 2/21, 7pm