The Colorado Avalanche gave Buffalo Sabres fans a preview of what the 2015-16 season might look like - a team of fast, talented, and hard-working young future stars that ran circles around a bottom-dwelling hockey club.
Unfortunately, they also reminded Sabres fans that, much like Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, we've got to wade through 500 yards of you-know-what in order to finally reach that sweet future.
The Sabres were outplayed and outclassed in just about every way this afternoon in a 7-1 loss to Colorado, a team on the opposite end of the rebuild spectrum as the Sabres. Right from the get-go, the Avs kept the Sabres hemmed in to their own end of the ice, rarely letting them clear the puck, let alone create any rushes the opposite way.
You might think that would lead to the possession numbers heavily favoring the Avalanche, though through the first period at least, the Corsi numbers were on Buffalo's side - however, Colorado proved that superior talent overcomes similar possession stats every time, and the Avalanche quickly went up 3-0 in the first, a lead that would never even be scratched by the hapless Sabres.
Ryan Miller's numbers in this game look terrible, as he made only 22 saves on 27 shots, but four out of the five goals he let in were due to defensive failures, and Miller never had a chance on many of Colorado's scoring opportunities. The Sabres didn't help themselves by taking six penalties, two of which the Avs scored on, though they did convert on one of five pwoer play chances.
This type of game was absolutely god-awful to watch for Sabres fans, because it showed how much of a talent gap the Sabres have yet to overcome. Watching this game reminded me of watching the 2005-06 Sabres, a group of young, fast, talented players who rolled three scoring lines and skated other teams out of the building. Being on the other side of that equation, and simply waiting for the roster to change via trades or drafts, well, isn't quite as much fun. Put this game in the books and never speak of it again.
2. Who gets the first goal tonight?
Colorado, and also the other first four. What's the Sabres record when they allow the first four goals?
3. What will birthday boy Tyler Myers do tonight?
Myers was a team-worst -4 tonight, and was strung out to dry on a number of 2-on-1 rushes against. Nobody was good for Buffalo today, but Myers was particularly horrible.
1. Nathan MacKinnon - earned three points and the hearts of Buffalonians
2. Gabriel Landeskog - two goals
3. Marc-Andre Cliche - scored his first career NHL goal against Ryan Miller. Make your own jokes, folks.
Comment of the Game
Drink of the game