Another bad start and another Buffalo Sabres loss. This time a 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers in a game the Sabres clearly could have won. This trend is starting to become a huge concern for a Sabres team that is leading the Northeast Division.
Last week it was Patrick Lalime that struggled early and tonight it was Ryan Miller's turn look incredibly average. I have a hard time blaming Miller for the loss but there is no question he deserves at least some of it. Miller has had a difficult time early in his last two starts although rebounded for a solid performance in Detroit. Tonight he was not as lucky as he was given the final 54 minutes off.
Once again the Sabres played well after falling behind, and even had a chance to win the game, but the end result is another loss. Buffalo outshot Atlanta 23-13 over the final 40 minutes but a deflection by Jim Slater sealed their fate.
Did the Sabres deserve a better result?
Probably, but you can't spot a team a two goal lead and expect to win hockey games this late in the season. The Sabres won plenty of games like this one in December but they don't have the offensive firepower to win a game like this one. They scored three times tonight but they were mostly hard working goals by the grinder lines.
Where are the Sabres offensive players? They were mostly invisible tonight, outside of a few chances by Derek Roy. I thought Roy did some good things in the offensive zone but it seemed like Patrick Kaleta was always on the receiving end of Roy's passes and he couldn't bury his opportunities.
The good news is there are still 14 games left for them to figure things out and they are not far off. If they play better in the first 10 minutes of this game and the Wild game last Friday, we are talking about earning points in six straight games instead of a three game losing streak.
- I'm starting to worry about Ryan Miller a little bit. He hasn't been terrible but he isn't the same goalie we seen lay in the Olympics. When was the last time he let three goals in so quickly?
- I know Drew Stafford hasn't been good but he needs to get back in the lineup. Patrick Kaleta just can't play as a to six forward if this team wants to compete.
- It was good to see Patrick Lalime get back in so quickly and play well. He allowed only one goal and it was goal that would have been scored on any goalie.
- Max Afinogenov has turned into a Sabres killer. Did we expect anything less?