Last night’s loss was yet another performance in which Ryan Miller surrendered at least three goals. In fact, Miller has allowed at least three goals in seven of the ten games he has started since returning from injury.
However, last night also marked the ninth game in the last fifteen which the Sabres failed to score more than twice. The Sabres scored only once in six of those nine contests. Only twice in the past 15 games have Buffalo scored at least three goals only to lose a game. Clearly Buffalo’s issues go far beyond the goal crease.
Buffalo managed only a handful of scoring chances last night, most coming with the man advantage. At even strength the Sabres were rather stagnant. Yet again, secondary offense was absent for most of the game. While Thomas Vanek added yet another point to a fantastic year, he received no help from the likes of Brad Boyes, Drew Stafford or anyone else who would be considered outside the top-six.
There is no debating that Ryan Miller is not playing at an all-world level. A basic eye test would show strong efforts on most nights, however his is still allowing three goals and hovering around a .900 save percentage on most nights. Obviously his game needs to be elevated.
What is unfortunate is that the team in front of Miller doesn’t appear to have the ability to provide the scoring support their goaltending needs. It is becoming obvious that Miller (or Jhonas Enroth) will need to steal any win the Sabres get.
It is clear that a shake up is in order. Whether that is in the locker room or on the coaching staff, something needs to change and it needs to change now. This team will have trouble staying between ninth and eleventh in the East, let alone scratching into the playoffs.
- Vanek and Pominville have truly reacted to their responsibilities as leaders. They have stepped up and become leaders on the ice. The same can’t be said to the other three wearing letters this season (9, 21, 28).
- Losing Andrej Sekera certainly isn’t a good thing. First, it means that Marc-Andre Gragnani will see a few games. Second, Sekera had been one of the most consistent defenders for the Sabres this season. His play as of late has tailed off, but he was certainly bringing some stability to the blue line.
- The Sabres won the special teams battle last night, they didn’t win much else. The shots were even, the Sabres only sustained zone time came with the man advantage and Buffalo didn’t create very much offensively.
- Miller made a few sparkling saves to keep the game respectable last night. You probably want him to stop the first goal, but there wasn’t much he could do on the second or third markers. Still, Miller will need to steal a game or two if the Sabres are hoping to go on a run.
- Enough is enough regarding Luke Adam. Sure, he has a good bond with Zack Kassian. But the Sabres had the most success with him centering Vanek and Pominville. It is astounding that Lindy Ruff won’t reunite that line.