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Lightning strikes in Buffalo

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        Game #10

Buffalo Sabres 2 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 5

Before I tell you about how poorly the Sabres played in their second consecutive home loss, let me give credit to the Tampa Bay Lightning for an impressive all around game.  The Lightning were the better team for the entire game and seemed to be a really hard working team.  They put the pressure on the Sabres in the offensive zone, they smothered the Sabres forwards in the defensive zone and they received good goaltending from their backup netminder Olaf Kolzig.

Now for the real news of the night.  The Sabres looked awful for the second consecutive home game.  They gave pucks away in their own zone, the passes weren't crisp and Miller had his worst performance of the season.  Miller had no chance on the first two Lightning goals but the last three goals are shots that Miller usually saves.  The back-breaker was the slap shot from Ryan Malone from the face-off circle that beat Miller over his right shoulder.

I have been very direct in my opinion of the 5-on-5 play of this team and the game tonight was a direct result of getting beat at even strength.  This team has relied on special teams through the first eight games and now that the power play has cooled a bit and the penalty kill is not lights out we are seeing this team may not be as good as we may have thought.  It's certainly not the end of the world to lose two games but it proves this team needs to improve their 5-on-5 play.

Random Thoughts

  • Clarke MacArthur scored his fifth goal of the season and seems to have secured himself a spot in the lineup.  He was set to be a healthy scratch on opening night and only got a shot because of an injury to Tim Connolly.
  • The Sabres allowed the Lightning to fire 39 shots on net after playing tight defensively early in the season.  Is Craig Rivet that important to this defense or are other guys playing that poorly?
  • Steven Stamkos scored his first two professional goals tonight.  He tipped a shot by Lecavalier for the Lightning first goal on the power play.  He later beat Ryan Miller with a slap shot in the second period.

Harry Neale Quote of the Game

It seemed to me that even Harry Neale had an off night.  I couldn't find one quote that stood out to me.  If I had to pick one it would be..."That's tough sometimes" in reference to RJ saying "listen to the play-by-play guy".

Roll Call

A really slow night in the game thread.  A total of 67 comments by myself, HO and Joan O.