It was one of the most disgusting, hideous, pathetic games the Sabres have played all season. The Ottawa Senators came into Buffalo and beat the Sabres in every aspect of the game but most importantly on the scoreboard. When the clock struck zero, the score was 3-1 in favor of Ottawa but that didn't tell the story of what happened at HSBC Arena on Wednesday night.
The Sabres power play has struggled lately and tonight they took it to the next level. The Sabres were 1-for-12 on the power play and had a man advantage for almost an entire period of hockey. The only power play goal came off the stick of Ales Kotalik and it came with the Sabres on a 5-on-3 in the thrid period. It was the Sabres 10th power play that they finally converted.
It wasn't just the Sabres power play that struggled tonight. They allowed two power play goals on six opportunities by the Sens. In fairness to the Sabres...the first power play goal was a great effort by Spezza and deflected off of his skate and into the net. The second power play goal was a hard shot by Daniel Alfredsson that snuck by Miller and into the net.
It is possible that the Sabres were missing Thomas Vanek and his 15 power play goals. They relied on Drew Stafford to fill that role and it's a role that he is not accustomed to. It is possible that they missed Vanek but didn't seem to be the biggest difference. The problem tonight was getting shots through the defense and on net, even Thomas Vanek in front wouldn't have prevented that. The Sens blocked 16 shots and numerous attempts by Pominville and Spacek were well wide of the net.
The Sabres had 23 of their 32 shots while they were a man up but they weren't quality shots. They were low percentage shots with nobody in front. Give Brian Elliot some credit for making some nice saves to keep his team ahead for most of the night.
In Miller's Grill
The Ottawa Senators seemed to have a plan to run Ryan Miller and they did it all night. They had a goal disallowed because of Goalie Interference and took three Goalie Interference penalties in the game. The most important was the one that wasn't called on the Sens second goal. Replays showed that Ryan Miller was clearly interfered with by Jarkko Ruutu as Shean Donovan wristed a shot off the goal post and into the net.
That goal was not the reason for the Sabres loss but they never really responded to the Sens attempts to get Miller off of his game. Miller admitted that they may have been in his head a little during his post-game press conference.
The Sabres had an opportunity to earn two points against a team that had won only six times away from home. Instead they remain at 62 points while some other team sthat are in the playoff hunt earned a tough two points. The Pittsburgh Penguins earned a shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks and the New York Rangers beat the Capitals in a shootout.
We didn't come close to the 222 comments we had on Saturday night but seven users combined for 138 commenst tonight. Thanks to all that joined in and helped.
Roll Call: D.O., ccthemovieman, Joan O., qdloser, aaron in ny, YOMAN, dfderie
Total Users: 7
Total Posts: 138
It doesn't get any easier for the Sabres. They host the San Jose Sharks on Friday night at the HSBC Arena. The Sharks are currently the best team in the NHL despite their shootout loss at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.