The 7-2 loss pretty much locks away any hope that was left for the playoffs. What a way to end those hopes, too. A 2-0 lead after the first, a shaken opposing goalie and a generally angered fan base. The Sabres returned for the second and allowed three tallies inside seven minutes, ultimately yielding the final seven goals of the game.
Jhonas Enroth was chased after giving up three and Ryan Miller didn’t fare much better, giving up four during his time in net. Each goalie had one that they should have stopped – Simmond’s first for Enroth and Voracek’s for Miller – but each were hung out to dry for the whole night. Even on the two that should have been saved, the defense were either out to lunch (Simmonds) or the entire five-man unit were coasting back on defense (Voracek).
People bag on Miller for shrugging his shoulders after being beaten, can you blame him? Tonight was a unique circumstance of plain old ugly hockey; but when you have no support from your teammates, what else would you expect?
The mental toughness of this group – of the “core” – has long been questioned. Continually blowing leads when they can stomp their foot on their enemy’s throat have been a perpetual nuisance. If there is one thing the deadline and offseason needs to yield, it is veteran talent who will teach the young players how to play with heart.
- A likely conversation between either Ryan Miller or Jhonas Enroth (maybe both) with their agent last night
- Tyler Myers made a great feed on Jason Pominville’s goal in the first. He then proceeded to play below average defense the rest of the night. A nice pass, but his defensive play could use some improvement.
- Speaking of the team MVPs. Thomas Vanek and Pominville continue to amaze. Another pair of goals from the team leaders while the rest of the forwards sit back and watch. If I was a player wearing a different number than 26 or 29, I’d be fearful of finding a new apartment in the next two weeks.
- Moving Vanek to the right wing with Tyler Ennis was a wise move. Keep Ville Leino in a top-six role and let him feed off the talent on his line. That is the only way you’re going to see results from him. His play has been markedly iimproved since his promotion.
- All six defensemen were in rough shape last night. The penalty kill coverage was poor and at even strength they were lost. It was a team failure defensively and the goaltenders had to pay. It is truly difficult watching a team sleepwalk through a game the way Buffalo did tonight.
- Give some ups to Zack Kassian. He threw with one of Philly’s goons and came out a winner. Tom Sestito threw plenty of punches but missed on most. Kassian threw a few and landed a pair of bombs. Kassian needs to keep the grit in his game, especially if he is to see big minutes beyond the deadline.