Depending how you spin it, the Sabres either had a hiccup along the line of a solid run; or the Sabres have dropped two of their last three.
The latter may be more appropriate considering Buffalo has allowed five or more goals in three of their last five games – one of those was a victory over Winnipeg. Clearly the team’s streaky defense is becoming an issue while Lindy Ruff’s line shuffling continues to be an extreme success or failure.
New Jersey rode two early goals to a 3-1 first period lead and never led by less than two the entire game. Another slow start at home as to be concerning to the staff, it certainly has the fans questioning the team’s talent. Frankly, the fact that this team so often stumbles at home is starting to become a serious issue. The task now is to identify what is causing these slow starts. Is it the coaching staff, the players, a combination? No matter where the onus lies, this is something that needs to be hammered out. Ryan Miller has been hung out to dry in the opening minutes of a home game twice and Jhonas Enroth was the victim last night.
- The only bright spot for the Sabres was Tyler Myers. His trip to the press box brought him back in full force. He played an aggressive game and was rewarded with two goals. The official stats credit him with only one hit, but I doubt that is actually an accurate number. Based on Myers’ response to being benched, perhaps Lindy Ruff should shelf more of his stars in the coming weeks.
- Christian Ehrhoff takes the cake as the biggest disappointment for me early in the season. He is playing with zero passion and often looks as if he is loafing about the ice while he counts all of the zeros on the game check he will be collecting. It is about time that Ehrhoff find his game, he was an effective peice of the puzzle in Vancouver but hasn’t found a way to contribute in Buffalo. Just goes to show what happens when you overpay European players.
- Jhonas Enroth is, in fact, human. While he didn’t get much help last night, the youngster had a very average outing on his way to being yanked after allowing five goals. He definitely got the Ryan Miller treatment from his teammates yesterday.
- Don’t assume that Enroth being pulled was only because he played an average game. Ruff was likely trying to get him a few minutes to truly rest entering the weekend. The ten-minute respite may be an indication that Enroth will get the start on Friday and Saturday.
- Slow start aside, it was the Sabres special teams which cost them yesterday. On the whole, the special teams units have been a big reason for Buffalo’s success. But a power play and short handed goal in the first five minutes is a recipie for disaster.
- Fun times: Ville Leino picked up another apple. Dude just needs to keep finding his legs down the left wing. I have faith he will come around.
- Still hate Derek Roy at center with Vanek and Pominville. The change-up pushed Luke Adam all the way to the fourth line while promoting Brad Boyes to center with Stafford and Leino. I contend that Stafford and Leino need a finisher at center, maybe Boyes meets that quota, but Adam is not at the point in his development where he can adapt to numerous lines. He fit perfectly with Vanek and Pominville, it would seem that moving him elsewhere is not going to work out.
1. Patrick Elias
2. Tyler Myers
3. Martin Brodeur