Double Minors: Scoring changes everything

Even a clean sheet from Ryan Miller couldn’t get the job done against the Rangers. Miller certainly helped steal a point for the Sabres, but his counterpart stole a pair.

Miller and Henrik Lundqvist put on a clinic all evening as both the Sabres and Rangers traded blows through a scoreless regulation and overtime. It took a five-round shootout for the Rangers to nab the bonus point and the 1-0 decision.

Both teams had their chances. The Sabres carried the play late, fueled by a raucous crowd – a rarity this season. New York also had their fair share of chances. The Blueshirts had some glorious chances early in the game, before the Sabres turned the territorial tables.

The Sabres gave a great effort, their third-straight. It is no mistake that three strong efforts have given this team five out of six points. It seems as if their win in New Jersey instilled some confidence which has shown as of late. Buffalo has been desperate for some positive play, they got some more last night. Unfortunately, the scoring wasn’t there.

It has been a plague that has followed the Sabres for nearly the entire season. The team has scored three goals in only three of their last fifteen, one came with an empty net tally. Even when the goaltending was suspect, the offense wasn’t producing enough to support the questionable effort between the pipes. Miller has turned in three-straight gems – plus two more strong outings in bad losses – and is showing signs that he is getting his swagger back. Yet, the goal scoring has all but evaporated.

Tyler Ennis has shown some spark at center. Jason Pominville continues to create and even Brad Boyes has shown life as of late. Ennis and Boyes are enjoying roles on new lines, Pominville has been steady all year. Of course these completes a rather hollow if pucks aren’t going in the net. Something needs to be done to give a roster desperate for scoring a boost.

  • That was one of those games you don’t want to see end. Miller and Lundqvist put on a show. Lundqvist was the first star and Miller the second, but I couldn’t give the edge to either tonight. Lundqvist made some dazzling saves and got help from a few posts. The same goes for Miller.
  • Ville Leino scored a great goal against Montreal because he pulled the trigger. Yet, last night he opted to pass off in prime shooting positions. Even his shootout attempt was taken off his stick before he really got a quality shot off. The film session should be simple; sit him down, show him game tape of his decisions to pass, tell him to shoot every time. He is a dangerous player, he just needs to capitalize.
  • The Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Ennis and Zack Kassian line is something Sabres fans are likely drooling over. Kassian played physical (four hits) and was engaged at both ends. That is the part of his game that needs to develop. A guy like that creating space for Ennis and Gerbe is an exciting prospect.
  • Paul Gaustad must have some secret for the All-Star break. He has had two phenomenal outings this week. He didn’t get on the scoresheet tonight, but he registered three blocked shots and won 64% of his draws. Another good looking game for the upcoming UFA.
  • You have to like the group of six Lindy Ruff is rolling out on defense. Weber and Sekera play very well together, this goes back to 2007-08 when they were paired late in the season. The Regehr/Leopold paring is strong and I don’t hate Myers and Ehrhoff together. Brayden McNabb’s return will complicate matters, but there is no reason for Marc-Andre Gragnani to even think he will see the ice any time soon.

Game Summary/Event Summary

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