There were players that struggled, Derek Roy and Tim Connolly to name a few but this game was decided by goaltending. Johan Hedberg, who you remember from the 2001 playoffs against the Penguins, made the big saves and Patrick Lalime did not.
It's difficult to blame a goalie when the team comes out flat but the Sabres were the better team over the final 40 minutes. Buffalo outshot Atlanta 42 -27, including 20-4 in the third period. The Sabres were never able to get back in the game because Atlanta answered both Sabres goals.
Clarke MacArthur scored the Sabres first goal and made the score 2-1 but less than a minute later the Thrashers scored to regain their two goal lead. Drew Stafford scored a power play goal to make the score 3-2 with 3:34 left in the third period. It took Max Afinogenov only 17 seconds to give Atlanta back their two goal lead. I don't want to take away from the accomplishments of Afinogenov but Ryan Miller makes that save, Miller makes many of those saves. Sometimes you need your goalie to be better than the guy at the other end and that didn't happen for the Sabres on Saturday night.
Follow the jump to see the stats.
Statistically speaking, the Sabres look like the better team. They outshot the Thrashers by almost a two to one margin but the stats don't tell the story. The stats don't show you the Thrashers took an early two goal lead and never let the Sabres back in it.
|TOI = Total Time on Ice||GV = Giveaways|
|FO% = Faceoff percentage||TK = Takeaways|
|Hits = Total Hits||BS=Blocked Shots|
Even Strength Stats
|Even Strength Individual Stats||Even Strength On-Ice Totals|
|#||Player||Pos||EV TOI||G||A||Shots||S A/B||S Miss||SOGF||SOGA||SOG Diff||Tot SF||Tot SA||Corsi|
|EV TOI = Even Strength time on ice||SOGA = Team shots against while on ice|
|EV TOI = Even Strength time on ice||SOG Diff = Difference shots on ice|
|S A/B = shots attempted and blocked||Tot SF = Total shots including blocked/missed|
|S Miss = Shots missed the net||Tot SA = Total Shots Ag. Including blocked/missed|
|SOGF = Team Shots while on ice||Corsi = Difference in Total Shots|
The Corsi number is a statistic that what created by Sabres goalie coach JIm Corsi. It is the difference in total shots for and the total shots against. It factors in all shots that were on net, attempts that were blocked and shots that missed the net. The idea is that it is a better reflection on a players two-way play because it shows puck possesion as opposed to only shots on goal.