Better effort but the same result. It was clear very early in the game that the Sabres came to play tonight. They battled, hit hard and paid the price for their chances. In the end it was the same old story. Lack of a power play, a couple of breakdowns and a couple of questionable goals against.
Buffalo seemed to the better team on the ice for long stretches in the game but Martin Biron wouldn't allow the Sabres to get capitalize on their chances while the Flyers seemed to take advantage of every opportunity they had.
The Sabres are running out of chances with only 11 games remaining on the schedule and trailing the eighth place Montreal Canadiens by five points. It's not going to be easy but their is still hope for the Sabres to get back in the race. If they play with the urgency they seemed to play with tonight they will start to win some hockey games.
Special Teams Failure
There are plenty of reasons the Sabres lost this hockey game but the most relevant is the special teams failures. The Sabres finished the game 0-for-7 on the power play and only had a couple a real good opportunities. When the power play is clicking, they are firing pucks from the point and tonight they kept the puck down low or along the wall too much.
As bad as the power play was, the penalty killing was equally as bad. The Flyers were 2-for-3 on the power play and the goals seemed to come with very little effort. The Flyers have a good power play but the Sabres are in the top five in penalty killing.
Instead of using the power play to take control of the game they failed to convert and the Flyers first two goals were scored with the man advantage. The second power play goal tied the game at two and really gave the Flyers confidence.
Biron Better Than Lalime
The Sabres out shot the Flyers 43-31 but came out on the losing end of a 6-4 hockey game. Martin Biron has played well against Buffalo ever since he was traded to Philadelphia and tonight was certainly no exception. Biron made plenty of nice saves but was really clutch in the first period. Despite numerous great scoring chances the Sabres trailed 1-0 after one period. Biron made his best save of the night when he robbed Tim Connolly early in the game and that set the tone for the whole game.
It's hard to criticize Patrick Lalime because he has been good for the Sabres since taking over for the injured Ryan Miller but tonight he needed to be better. Were there some breakdowns in front of him? Of course there was but he wasn't there to bail his team out. Lalime made 25 saves but it was the shots that he didn't stop that were the story.
There was a play in the second period when Stafford was stopped point blank by Biron and the Flyers spun it in the other direction and Danny Briere beat Lalime with a hard shot from the slot. Biron made the big saves and lalime didn't...bottom line.
Briere Gets Revenge
The history of Danny Briere in Buffalo and beyond has been well chronicled in Buffalo and tonight he had the last laugh. Briere scored two big goals for the Flyers and seems to always play well against the Sabres.
I saved this for last because it was not the story of the game. It was not the story but once gains the Sabres came out on the losing end of a couple of questionable goals. The first came when the Flyers appeared to be offsides at the Sabres blue line but it wasn't called, just seconds later the puck was in the back of the net. Replays showed that it was clearly offsides but that is not reviewable.
The second questionable goal was scored by Mike Knuble and gave the Flyers a 5-3 lead. It looked like Knuble had his stick above the crossbar but after a legnthy review they ruled that the play was inconclusive. The part that doesn't sit well is that the goal was awarded to Knuble. There was a question as to whether or not Knuble had touched the puck but if he did touch it...his stick was high.
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
Harry didn't make us wait too long for his quote of the game. After a weak shot by Dan Carcillo he had this gem...
"It was a nudist shot; it had nothing on it"
Thanks again to everyone who joined the game thread. Hope to see you again Saturday night.
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Although not mathmatically eliminated with a loss to the Rangers tomorrow, I think we can all agree that it is a MUST WIN. We use that term rather loosely most times but it is now reality. The Sabres will be at MSG to take on the Rangers at 7PM on Saturday.