Islanders vs. Sabres Recap: Miller Scrap Way Too Little, Way Too Late As Sabres Lose 4-0

This is what the arena looked like by the end of the game. - Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Even Ryan Miller dropping the gloves at the end of the game couldn't win back a Buffalo crowd that relentlessly booed the Sabres until abandoning ship in the third period.

If a goalie fights at the end of a blowout, but nobody's in the stands to watch, does it make a sound?

By the time Ryan Miller dropped his gloves and went after Matt Martin for bulldozing his way into the crease, at least half of the fans had left the First Niagara Center thanks to another poor effort from the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres played a competent, if boring, first period, but as soon as they made one defensive mistake and fell behind in the second period, the wheels came off this sad, sad bus, and the end result was a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Islanders. The Sabres seem incapable of recovering from mistakes, and tonight it didn't help that they were absolutely snakebitten when it came to finishing their scoring chances.

With this loss, the Sabres are now in last place in the East, and 29th in the league.

First Period

- The Sabres got things off to a better start tonight, by which I mean they didn't get totally dominated for the first five minutes. You can certainly see Rolston's "playing faster" mentality starting to take hold.

- The Sabres got two power play opportunities in the first, and though they still struggled with zone entries, once they actually got in the Islanders zone, their puck possession was markedly better than it has been in previous games.

- Thomas Vanek got a golden opportunity right in front of the Isles net all alone...and threw a limp snap shot into Evgeni Nabokov's pads. I think we have officially entered the "Thomas Vanek Cold Streak" portion of the season.

- Alex Sulzer left with a lower body injury and did not return.

Second Period

- Neither team can finish here, though both goalies have made some nice saves on point blank chances. Vanek is robbed yet again at the beginning of the period.

- The Sabres power play continues to look very good, and is sporting the Umbrella look (three men up high) tonight. Still, despite five efforts that were all quite strong, they haven't been able to put one past Nabokov, who is playing lights out. The Buffalo PP is now 2 for their last 44.

- On an Islanders rush, two Sabres defensemen took the same man, and the one who was left uncovered, of course, scored. That's got to be one of the worst defensive breakdowns of the year, and the way this year has gone, that's saying something.

- Christian Ehrhoff has been the Sabres best defenseman all year, but a horrible pass along the blue line got picked off an led to an Islanders breakaway that made it 2-0. Earlier, Ron Rolston said the Sabres are the team that blinks first in a stare down. Tonight's game is Exhibit A.

Third Period

-The boo birds saw the Sabres off the ice in the second period, and they're back in full force in the third. The Sabres are in the entertainment business, and these days they're doing really bad business.

- With 6:00 left in the third period, and after another period of watching just bad Sabrs hockey, there's a mass exodus of fans. The arena is now half empty, and the booing continues.

- With four seconds left, Matt Martin got shoved into Ryan Miller, and Miller drops the gloves and goes after him. Good for him - Miller's got to be fed up with giving great efforts in front of a team like this.

Game Quote

Ryan Miller, when asked about frustration setting in:
"Well, it's about goddamn time."

Post Game Audio

Thomas Vanek, 2-23-13

Ryan Miller, 2-23-13

Comment of the Game

I think Jessie Pegula summed things up best when she Tweeted, "Let's just call a spade a spade. The Sabres are just really bad...#makesmesad" (Since deleted.)

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