Double Minors: Saving the drama for the finish
To quote a loyal 2ITB reader regarding yesterday’s game, “simply stunning”.
After 20 minutes of listless hockey, it would have appeared the Sabres were cooked. Not only for the game but their season as well. However, the slow crawl back began on a second period power play and ended with Derek Roy’s game winner on the man advantage.
It certainly wasn’t an ideal victory, with the early deficit and stale first period effort after a strong opening 10 minutes. But they don’t ask how, they ask how many. Buffalo’s victory keeps them at pace with the Capitals and the Panthers, who only managed a point against Winnipeg last night.
The Sabres seem to be missing the presence of Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff for no other reason than because their big minutes have been distributed among players like Alex Sulzer, Andrej Sekera, Mike Weber and Brayden McNabb. Even Jordan Leopold has seen an uptick in his time. None of these players have reacted particularly well to their increase in ice time and it has certainly shown in the defensive zone. Although, the Sabres did buckle down in the final 40 minutes, allowing 12 shots in the second and third period versus 13 in the first.
The past three games haven’t been too kind to the Sabres in a defensive sense. Ryan Miller wasn’t particularly sharp, but made a number of impressive saves along the way this evening. I would have to say the Sabres won the game in spite of Miller’s play. However, there were a number of huge saves that he did make which took goals away from the Leafs.
Thursday and Saturday will be a pair of tough tests for this team, especially if they continue yielding the type of easy chances they gave up to Jake Gardiner’s, Clarke MacArthur’s and Tyler Bozak’s second goal. Of course, there is still some hope left that the Sabres will be able to pull off the improbable.
- Despite their recent success, the Sabres still appear to be a one-line team. The current hot line is obviously the Regulator line of Foligno, Ennis and Stafford. The other two lines are having some success but could seriously use a bump in success to keep the Sabres rolling.
- Along that line, the Sabres got three goals from defensemen which is a huge bonus for any team. However, it would be really nice if the other lines can produce for these final two games.
- Alex Sulzer had an up and down game, but his three points make things easier to stomach. Even after a rough outing, he is still heads and shoulders better than Marc-Andre Gragnani.
- Andrej Sekera’s game has slipped as of late. After a great run of play that came during Buffalo’s surge, he has seemed to regressed some these past few games. Given the need the Sabres have for steady play on the blueline, Sekera will need to turn things around.
- Marcus Foligno made Mike Komisarek look like a complete fool on that tying goal. You wonder why Komisarek has fallen off so drastically, it is because he makes idiotic plays as he did last night.
- With a pair of fights, the Sabres are up to 39 on the season. That is a significant increase from last year. For all the questions that were raised about toughness, it would seem as if the Sabres have improved in that department.
- That being said, Brayden McNabb may have bit off more than he could chew with Jay Rosehill, but he and Marcus Foligno showed fans more of what they’ve been hoping to see from their rugged prospects.