Once again the Buffalo Sabres couldn’t muster the offense to maintain the early lead they built in Boston. Once again a one-goal lead was established and sat on. Once again the Sabres will wait to climb the final rungs of the playoff ladder.
For what it’s worth, Sami Pahlsson scored a late goal to put Vancouver over Winnipeg late last night. Of all the teams Sabres fans are keeping their eyes on, Winnipeg is the one that matters most.
Last night’s loss was another in which the Sabres scored only one goal. It was also a game in which they held a lead but failed to build upon it. The past 14 days have been grueling for the Sabres. They have gone from Anaheim, up the coast to Vancouver (via San Jose), to Winnipeg and now to Boston. They will stop off in Ottawa tomorrow night. In that whole span the Sabres returned home for Wednesday’s overtime win against Carolina.
This rough road schedule is a likely culprit for additional fatigue and bumps and bruises. But the Sabres have failed to adapt to many of their shortcomings this year, particularly in the scoring department. Whether this is a coaching issue or player issue is unknown. All I know is that any hope of actually catching eighth place will come on the coattails of more than just one or two goals per game.
Jhonas Enroth’s unfortunate losing streak continued despite a fine showing. He turned away 13 shots in the first period alone, finishing with 25 saves on the night. Enroth’s losing streak has been subject to a number of game in which the Sabres failed to provide proper goal support. Last night was another good example. Enroth did prove that he’s capable of earning another start before the end of the season.
- Funny how Cody Hodgson went from being the toast of the town to an alleged bust in just a week and a half. Apparently the Sabres acquired Wayne Gretzky and no one told me. Give him time to settle into the system, offensive players often take a little longer to acclimate to a new system. Especially a system that runs on only one goal per game.
- Alexander Sulzer continues to acquit himself nicely. Three games in, he is a major improvement over Marc-Andre Gragnani.
- I still wonder about the mental toughness of the Sabres at times. Surrendering a one goal lead isn’t a rare occurrence. However, both losses this week came after being tied entering the third period. Again, both games came after rough travel days, but that type of game is what the Sabres will see in the playoffs.
- There is no reason to start scoreboard watching just yet. The Sabres still control their own destiny and simply need to win their games. They have been getting some help lately, but there is no reason to fret over every other team’s win or losses when the standings will change in 24 or 48 hours.
- Buffalo’s physical game hasn’t seemed to suffer much since losing Paul Gaustad. However, their faceoff numbers are down significantly and I wonder if it is something that will really start to prove to be a factor. Even on Wednesday, Ville Leino’s faceoff loss led to Carolina’s first goal. Just something to keep an eye on.