After the trade deadline was all said and done, the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Cardinals arms race to the bottom was one of the biggest stories of the day, and many Sabres fans were worried that 30th place was in jeopardy.
If last night's game is any indication, those who hope for 30th shouldn't have much to worry about.
The Sabres were dominated for 30 minutes by the Lightning, and couldn't get anything past Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who earned his first career shutout in the 3-0 Lightning win.
The end of the first period and beginning of the second doomed the Sabres, who decided that not shooting at the Tampa net and taking back-to-back penalties was a good idea. Turns out it was not, and Tampa took advantage of those mistakes for three quick goals that the Sabres would not recover from.
Anders Lindback played a solid if unspectacular game in net for the Sabres, who were outshot 35-28. The other new Sabres called up from Rochester made virtually no impact on the game - Zac Dalpe, Jerry D'Amigo, and Tim Schaller combined to go -2 with zero recorded shots or hits.
The Sabres have 18 games to go, and with both Edmonton and Arizona losing last night, Buffalo still has a three point lead on 30th. Their next game comes on Friday when the team will travel to Ottawa.
1. Will the new-look Sabres be able to generate any kind of serious offense?
The first ten minutes and some of the third period looked pretty good, and the Sabres actually managed to put up 14 shots in the final frame, but they couldn't crack Vasilevskiy. When Zach Bogosian leads your team with seven shots, you're probably not scoring very much.
2. Can Anders Lindback come close to what Michal Neuvirth was giving the Sabres in net ?
Lindback was fine in net, but couldn't stem the flood of Tampa's offense at the end of the first and beginning of the second. The Sabres will need him to be lights-out, not just fine, if they're going to have a hope of winning.
3. Will we get Tyler Ennis or Mikhail Grigorenko tonight?
We got Ennis, but he didn't do much more than Grigorenko, recording only one shot.
Comment of the Game
Neither can we.