It's starting to sound like a broken record, the Sabres put in an inconsistent effort and lost to the Washington Capitals 3-1. I feel like we could just copy and paste the game recaps and they would all be the same over the last month and a half.
The evening started with a salute to the Olympic athletes and Ryan Miller earned a well deserved standing ovation. The Sabres seemed to build off that momentum and had some good scoring chances in the early going. The momentum led to a 5-on-3 advantage and the Sabres failed to capitalize.
Despite plenty of offensive chances the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes of play and that spelled disaster for the Sabres. The second period was a comedy of errors that was prompted by the Sabres frustration. The giveaways were plentiful and if not for the play of Ryan Miller the Caps would have put the Sabres away in the second period.
The Sabres escaped the second period with the score tied 1-1 but a defensive breakdown allowed Mike Green to give the Caps the lead and they would never relinquish it. The Sabres had some chances late but an empty net goal sealed their fate in the closing seconds.
Darcy Regier went out and got Raffi Torres but one player will not be enough to turn things around for the Sabres. The entire team is going to have to get back to basics, and as Ryan Miller always tells us, they have to play the system.
We always talk about the lack of effort but it is confidence this team is lacking. The effort is there night in and night out but there is too much individual play.
Management has to take some of the blame for the loss tonight. We keep hearing about the players in Portland that are ready to step up but instead of calling someone up they played Steve Montador as a fourth line winger tonight. Having a fourth line player that doesn't see the ice puts more pressure on the players that are playing, especially in the second game of a back-to-back situation. It would have been nice to have another player that can score instead of a defenseman playing forward.
Once again the Sabres scored just one goal and this against a team that is not known for their defense and goaltending. In order to score goals you need your offensive players on the ice and that didn't always happen tonight. I'm sure their was a reason Drew Stafford didn't get a lot of ice time but he was 9th amongst forwards in ice time. Mike Grier was fourth and Patrick Kaleta was seventh. I like Grier and Kaleta but they haven't been lighting the lamp recently and the Sabres are desperate for offense.
- You are probably sick of me telling you that the sky isn't falling but it's not. It was another bad performance tonight but a couple of good bounces and it is a win against the best team in the Eastern Conference.
- The Sabres were not without chances tonight. They only had 24 shots on goal but they had some good scoring chances that were either shot wide or deflected in front. This team is on the verge of getting back on track if they start to play as a team for an entire 60 minutes.
- The Sabres remain in fifth place and one point behind Ottawa for first in the Northeast Division but they still have those games in hand. They have a couple of winnable games coming up this weekend and can quickly be back on top.
- I also want to add a kudos to the crowd for giving Miller a long ovation to start the game. It was well deserved.
- As great as it was to see Danny Gare I want to say...get well soon Roby, we miss you.