Regardless of how this season ends for the Sabres, the inability to score goals will be the keystone of this season’s issues.
Say what you will about the goaltending – yesterday’s wasn’t phenomenal – but continuing to miss on chances has been the biggest issue for the Sabres all season. Yesterday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Florida was just another perfect example.
Ryan Miller didn’t have a first period to remember, allowing goals on the first two shots of the game, but he locked things down from there. In fact, he was very strong in the shootout, despite getting the loss. Miller stole a whole bunch of games in February, it is time his steam responds in kind. He yielded two goals against Florida, that should still be enough to win.
Place the blame for this wasted point on the forwards. Seven shooters and only two dekes. Brad Boyes did beat Theodore on his attempt, but hit the post. The rest had very average attempts against a small goalie who would struggle with nearly any deke attempt.
It would appear that closing games out has suddenly become an issue for a team who desperately needs regulation or overtime wins over their last ten games. Add in the questionable mental toughness of the roster and the home stretch could end up being a long journey.
- It is probably hard for fans who expect a shutout every night to watch Ryan Miller. He played such phenomenal hockey for three weeks that everyone likely thinks he can do it every game. Miller needed to stop John Madden’s goal, but he kept his team alive for the rest of that game. Keeping your team in the game is what Miller needs to do. That has been a constant since the New Year.
- Cody Hodgson had Jose Theodore beat. I don’t care if you’re off his bandwagon, his shot wasn’t a poor choice. He does need to start producing in some way, shape or form to prove his actual worth. Too many fans are worried about his box score, understand that he brings more than Zack Kassian did as a winger.
- Andrej Sekera proved that, when healthy, he is a very good defenseman for this team. He played big minutes and was strong in both ends. Sekera has carved out a solid niche along the blueline this year.
- Oh hey, Marcus Foligno. Keep putting up points and you’ll have a permanent roster spot. His skating has improved and he has been a nice addition as a call-up recently.
- Corey Tropp can get a regular number now. He has been perfect in the role the coaching staff has placed him in. Tropp had five hits (team high) and continues to show that high motor. I do wonder how his play will impact Pat Kaleta’s status next season.