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Sabres Fall in Pre-Season Opener

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If this was a regular season game I would be really angry right now.  In typical Sabres fashion they let another game slip away in the final minutes.  The end result is nothing more than a pre-season overtime loss so I'm not too upset.  It wasn't all bad for the Sabres tonight.  There were some definite bright spots in the way they played tonight and many of the young kids stood out in the lineup.

After trailing 1-0 through the first two periods, the Sabres stepped up the offense and had a 3-2 lead in the final minutes of the game.  Jason Pominville, Clarke MacArthur and Tim Kennedy scored the Sabres goals.  The Kennedy goal gave the Sabres the lead with less than three minutes left and they stil managed to give the game away.

The Good
  • The line of Derek Roy-Clarke MacArthur-Drew Stafford looked really good for large portions of the game.  This is a line that I have been lobbying for and it was nice to seee them play together this evening.
  • Drew Stafford was a beast tonight.  He looked like a guy that was playing with a purpose and did what people said he didn't have in him.  He played TOUGH.  He was battling guys in the corners, hitting along the boards and looked really good with the puck.
  • The Tim Kennedy goal was a pretty one.  The play was made by the hustle and aggressive play of Nathan Gerbe.  Gerbe battled for the puck behind the net and fed a nice pass to Philip Gogulla who found Kennedy in front.  All Kenedy had to do was bury it and he did.
  • Tyler Ennis has the potential to be a great player in the NHL.  He played on a lie with Thomas Vanek and Jason pominville and he looked good most of the time.  He is not ready to make the jump to the NHL yet but it was hard to ignore his skill on the ice.
The Bad
  • Another game that was given away by the Sabres.  A lead in the final three minutes of the game needs to hold up and it didn't.
  • The Sabres had trouble controlling the puck in their own zone.  They had trouble clearing the zone all last season (see Atlanta late season loss).  This is an area this team needs to improve on or it will bite them all season.
  • The call against Mike Weber in the final seconds that gave the Caps a two-man advantage and led to the game winning goal.
The Ugly
  • Marc-Andre Gragnani doing his best Toni Lydma impersonation with a terrible giveaway in front of the Sabres net to allow the tying goal.
  • Jhonas Enroth taking a delay of game penalty for playing the puck outside the trapezoid in the final minute of regulation.

The Sabres will be off tomorrow and will be back in action on Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings.  Once again it will be radio coverage only.

[Note by Zachary Zielonka, 09/18/09 7:59 AM EDT ]  For those of us who didn't catch the game, Vance from Double Edged Sabres has the highlights from the game from Sabres.com.