I sat up all night trying to figure out a positive spin on the current situation and I failed miserably. The Sabres lost 4-2 to the visiting New York Islanders at the HSBC Arena. It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Sabres and their second in as many nights. The Sabres are now 9-8-3 and trail the Boston Bruins by 11 points in the Northeast Division.
I would love to give some in depth analysis as to what went wrong but fortunately I wasn't able to see the game. It was the second consecutive game the Sabres outshot their opponent but failed to earn a victory. The disturbing part of the loss to the Islanders was the third period. Buffalo outshot the Islanders 18-2 in the second period and 31-14 through two periods but trailed 2-1. Instead of continuing to fire shots on Islanders Goalie Joey MacDonald the Sabres spent most of the third period in their own zone and were outshot 12-6 in that period.
I can't sit here and give you answers on what the Sabres need to do to fix this problem. Even Lindy Ruff is struggling for answers, he called up Mancari and benched Max Afinogenov and Henrik Tallinder. He started Patrick Lalime to try to shake things up. He has even tried limiting some players ice time. Nothing he has tried has worked till this point and he is running out time.
I'm not saying that the ship has sank but it is definitely taking on water. At this point there are plenty of people bailing the water but it's filling up quickly. If they don't turn this around soon, we may be looking at a repeat of last season and the Sabres missing the playoffs again.
There was some good news in the game last night...Mark Mancari scored the Sabres first goal in his second game of the season and the general impression is that he played well.
Thanks to everyone who joined us in the Game Thread...It's nice to see LionAlum joining in the conversation the past two games.
[Update by D.O., 11/23/08 8:30 PM EST ]
I was reading the official recap and watching the highlights of the game and I honestly became sick to my stomach. It wasn't because the game was ugly because from the highlights, it wasn't that bad.
It was because of this...
"We had no emotion early on," Buffalo forward Jason Pominville said. "We weren't competing and we lost a lot of one-on-one battles."
Seriously? You lost four games in a row and you had no emotion? As I mentioned before, I wasn't able to watch the game but this remark coming from a player on the team is disturbing. If this is indeed true, it is time that Craig Rivet become useful as a Captain and start busting heads. Yeah I said it, he better start busting heads.
How is it that myself and plenty of other Sabres fans are disturbed by their play lately and the team shows no emotion? I hope that Pommers was just blowing off some steam and didn't choose his words correctly. We have continuously heard him talk about the "system" but now he is questioning the desire of the team.
It's just a matter of time before this ship is completely sunk...they better turn it around quickly.