Buffalo - February 9, 2015 - Following every Sabres game, we’ll be taking a little look at the previous night’s action with a little segment called “good, bad and ugly”. Expect a loooooooot of ugly.
The Sabres were like Jekkyl and Hyde this weekend. We’ll get into that with a look back at a win on Saturday against Dallas on Saturday and a horrific loss to the Islanders on Sunday.
Sweep the leg, Johnny! The Sabres have had a penchant of late for starting games the right way before ultimately giving up the lead and losing the game. On Saturday night against the Stars, the Sabres grabbed a late first-period lead thanks to a Tyler Myers goal and then put the pedal to the metal in the second, raising the lead to 3-0 by the six minute mark. You want to win games in the NHL? Don’t let teams off the ground. The Sabres put their foot on the throat of the Stars on Saturday.
Of course, it also helps that Jhonas Enroth was money once again. He turned aside 38 of 40 shots on the night, including a couple of late flurries when it looked like the Stars might complete their comeback. In his past three starts, he’s faced 103 shots while turning aside 97 of them, good for a .942 save percentage. When your goalie is playing that well, you’re bound to win a few.
Lastly, Chris Stewart has chosen the right time to wake up. He had three helpers on Saturday and he’s been playing very strongly of late, scoring with consistency and playing that power forward game everyone knows he can. It’s the right time because he’ll almost certainly not be a Buffalo Sabre by this time next month. He was sought after prior to this nice little stretch and him playing inspired hockey will no doubt attract a few more suitors. Hopefully, he can bring back a nice return for Tim Murray and the Sabres.
Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders was like the complete opposite of Saturday night’s tilt. By the midway point of the second period against the Islanders, it was already 3-0 and the game never looked close for even a second.
Somehow, though, Foligno and Stafford both scored less than three minutes apart and the Sabres were somehow in the game. Really though, it wasn’t ever in doubt for the Islanders.
Also worth noting is that Cody Hodgson was once again a healthy scratch. I’ve been one of the vocal minority saying that Hodgson should be given a little more rope, he should be given the benefit of the doubt and maybe guided a little longer, but I have to wonder if this is the last season we’ll see Hodgson in Buffalo. Granted, he’s got a long-term contract, but the Sabres might do all they can to move him come offseason. He clearly doesn’t fit into Ted Nolan’s system and his development has been completely stopped. It’s frustrating to see such a talented kid go to waste, but that’s likely what’s happening.
Now, the Sabres only lost to the Islanders 3-2 on Sunday thanks to some really opportunistic scoring by Foligno and Stafford, but how in the blue hell can any team expect to win with 10 freakin’ shots on net?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but this is the one of the worst possession teams in franchise history. I wanted to say in NHL history, but I honestly can’t speak to that because I just don’t know having not seen the vast majority of games played in the NHL.
Having said that, the Sabres look like little kids trying to get the puck from their dad. Just a lot of legs churning, but nothing resembling a chance at possession throughout. I don’t know what the hell the issue is, but that’s the most frustrating part of all of this: they don’t stand much of a chance due to a talent disparity, but when they can’t even gain possession? It’s unbelievably frustrating.
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