A huge 5-1 spanking of the Capitals put Buffalo in full control of their destiny prior to dropping their weekend set against Pittsburgh and Toronto. Now they not only need to win their games this week, they need a little help along the way.
I suppose what was most disappointing about the losses over the weekend is two-fold. Obviously knowing the Sabres came out and dominated a game they had to have only to see them give less than their best on the weekend is the most disheartening part. However, I have to wonder why Lindy Ruff wouldn’t give Ryan Miller one night off (against Pittsburgh)? Not only would it give Miller some much needed rest, which I would assume is desperately needed; but it would give Jhonas Enroth one more game. Beating the Penguins was going to be a near impossible task, why waste a start from the player that has carried the team to this point?
Of course, that is in the past. The injuries to Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff are in the present and could have a major effect on tonight’s game, just as they did on Saturday. Myers and Ehrhoff are two major parts of the Sabres’ attack. They’re dynamic puck movers who have good hockey IQ in the offensive zone. Sure, they’ve each had their struggles defensively, but they’re still two of Buffalo’s top four defenders. Their absence needs to be lessened as much as possible.
Not to overstate the obvious, but tonight is do or die. A win will keep their heads above water and keep them in the hunt. Buffalo still has a dicey finish at the end of the week, but those two games won’t matter unless they get two points tonight.
Goaltenders. Ryan Miller finally came down off the his hot streak that helped him lead the Sabres into playoff contention. Of course, fans are only looking at the last two games when evaluating him; exactly what I’ve come to expect from a town with such hockey IQ. Miller needs to play a strong game, hopefully the two days off helped him a bit. I’ll maintain that he should have rested Friday, however. As for the Leafs. I would have to assume that Ben Scrivens will be back in net. The Sabres put three by him on Saturday, they just need to play a little better D and continue to pepper the youngster.