"One minute left, you can't let that guy stand in the backdoor" - Henrik Tallinder in Post Game.
It is painful losing to Ottawa every time they are on the schedule, it is more painful to see Daniel Alfredsson left all alone in the crease to score the winning goal with under a minute left in regulation. There are so many questions to ask after losing on a play like that.
What is Andrej Sekera doing out near the blue line in a tie game with the score tied and under a minute to go? Why didn't any of the forwards pick up Alfredsson who skated free through the zone? Why is 13-20-41-34-44 doing on the ice with a minute left in a tie game against the Ottawa Senators.
I don't have the answers but Sekera has been out of the lineup for quite some time and he played well for 59 minutes. The fourth line has not really been put in that situation and they didn't react properly to the situation. I have no answer for Lindy Ruff putting the fourth line and the third defensive pairing on the ice in a tight game but I'm interested to hear what he has to say about it.
The overall game was a roller coaster of emotions. The Sabres dominated the first 20 minutes but came away with nothing to show for it. Their best chance came on a play that was reviewed and eventually ruled that it was not a goal. The Sabres pressured and Sens goalie Brian Elliot allowed plenty of rebounds but the Ottawa defense did a good job of not allowing second and third chances.
It took awhile but the Sens slowly took over the game in the second period and, one of the two Sabres killers on the Sens roster, Jason Spezza beat Miller with a shot that went over the shoulder of Miller and into the top of the net. That trend continued in the early part of the third and Spezza beat Miller a second time after Miller took himself out of the play by sprawling out of crease.
The roller coaster went back up after Sekera finally beat Elliot with a perfect wrist shot. Connolly scored only 27 seconds later and the Sabres tied it and everyone was back in the game. The crowd was in the game and momentum had swung until the awful play in the final minute.
- I'm not sure if nobody asked or if Lindy Ruff dodged the question but why didn't he answer why he put the fourth line on the ice with a minute left? He talked about how the fourth line hurt the team tonight but no mention of why they were on the ice.
- I'm starting to become concerned with the play of Ryan Miller. I know he can't make every stop but the first two were on him and not the defense. I think we have to give Jason Spezza some credit because he is a great player and has been really hot recently.
- I don't want the Sabres to struggle at all but now is the perfect time for it to happen. They will take a two week break in a couple of weeks will give them a chance to rest up and decide what to do with the roster. I think a trade or two is necessary to give them a real shot in the playoffs.
- The good news is the Sabres are still three points ahead of the Senators despite their 10 game winning streak. The other good news is the Sabres still have two games in hand. The bad news is the Sens are now within three points of the division lead and a couple of weeks ago it was double digits. There is a huge difference between finishing 3rd as opposed to 4th or 5th this season.
- This weekend will be an opportunity for the Sabres to win a couple of winnable games. The Canes are playing better but the Blue Jackets are in disarray.
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