The Buffalo Sabres dropped their final NHL preseason contest to the Washington Capitals 4-3 in a shootout.
Buffalo led 3-2 in the third, only to surrender the tying goal to Matt Hendricks with just under seven minutes to go. Thomas Vanek scored twice and Jason Pominville added a first period tally for the Sabres. Ryan Miller went the distance and made 29 saves. Jhonas Enroth was expected to see at least one period, but Lindy Ruff opted to get Miller another complete game. I would expect Enroth to play 60 minutes against Alder Mannheim on Tuesday.
Since this contest was sans television there isn’t too much I can offer in terms of analysis. However, losing a third period lead with most of the ‘A’ team playing isn’t very encouraging.
– Ryan Miller wasn’t superman in the shootout, as is usually expected. He would always be the first goalie I would pick if I needed to win a shootout. He turned aside two of the five shooters he faced tonight, definitely not his usual standard. Again, without video, it is hard to say how weak the goals he allowed were. So I will put it as a wash for Miller. He allowed the tying goal in the third, but also faced 15 shots in the period. 29 saves isn’t too shabby, but you would certainly like to seem him play a major role in locking down that one-goal lead.
– The power play was 0-for-4, that is not an encouraging sign either. Christian Ehrhoff is a major upgrade for the Sabres. He is a brilliant power play QB and will surely account for a bunch of points throughout the year. Due to his versatility, Ehrhoff adds another offensive weapon to the team without being a defensive liability. This adds a scary wrinkle to both units because Ruff can pair Myers with Leopold on the second unit while putting Ehrhoff and Sekera or Gragnani on the first unit. Of course, those four or five are interchangeable.
– As the Sabres prepare to depart for Europe, they are playing it very safe in terms of their two injured forwards. If today had been a regular season contest, Derek Roy certainly could have played. As for Jochen Hecht, it is hard to say how long he will be out and how severe his injury is. Some rumors say Hecht is being held out due to concussion issues. Of course, without an official ruling little can be drawn from his situation. It seems as if Hecht will miss his homecoming game on Tuesday, which is very unfortunate for a player who has always been a major contributor for the national team. Hopefully it is decided that he can recover enough to play against his former team.
Buffalo plays their final game of the preseason against Alder Mannheim on Tuesday afternoon. The Sabres drop the puck on the 2011-12 regular season in six short days.