It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

My message is simple: Take a deep breath, and STOP. For more, click to continue…Playoff hockey: the games can produce the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. In a matter of 48 hours, a team can go from Stanley Cup contender to a mediocre bunch of rejects who wouldn’t start on most other NHL teams. A Vezina winning goalie can go from hero to zero because of one bad goal.

That is exactly what happened in Buffalo last evening. After winning Game 1, the Sabres lost their second consecutive game (the first time they have done so under Pegula’s ownership) to give Philly a 2-1 series lead. The loss of course caused the passionate fans of the Buffalo Sabres to, for lack of a better phrase, “freak the eff out”.

Now I have no problem with fans being upset at the loss. I attended the game, and I truly believe Buffalo was the better team, which made me even more frustrated that we were not rewarded with a W. However, I understand that losses happen, and that series are not over after three games. A win tomorrow will get us right back on track (yea I know, optimism in Buffalo- crazy right?).

The talk all over the internet (Facebook, really) was that Miller is a slob and he needs to be pulled. Can all of you who think that just stop? Thinking that Enroth is better than Miller is not cool anymore. Yea, I’m talking to you, the guy who wears a green plaid shirt to the game. Go put on your fake Ray Bans and listen to  your hipster music and keep your thoughts on the Sabres to yourself.

Does your franchise goalie have to stop that shot by Jeff Carter? Absolutely. However, Miller played pretty damn well after that if you ask me. He was left to dry on the goals by Zherdev and Briere. If you think Enroth would have made those saves you are out of your mind, and probably have never heard of Colin Stuart or Mark Parrish.

The real problem I see is that our young defense has great upside, and unfortunately that is usually matched with a pretty large downside. Montador, one of the more veteran defenseman in the lineup, has been atrocious so far. The fact that he is an even in the series is amazing to me. He’s taken more than one stupid penalty, and seems to be incapable of clearing the puck out of the zone. I’m not gonna devote too much time to Leopold, another veteran on the staff, but he didn’t seem to be at 100% yesterday. Chris Butler has played really well of late, but last night was not his best effort. Myers was a -2 last night. Weber was pretty much unnoticeable in game 3. I thought despite his goal, Sekera was terrible in game 2. Morrisonn has played his last game as a Sabre. The only consistent defenseman this series has been Gragnani. He has been arguably the best player on the ice for the Sabres so far in this series. He has a point in every game (4 assists total) and is the only Sabre with a plus rating (+1).

If our defense can match its effort from Game 1, this team can be dangerous. If Pominville, Boyes, Connolly, and/or Gaustad can find the back of the net, that wouldn’t hurt either. Boyes had his best game of the series last night. Connolly has been superb on the PK and in the faceoff circle, but his offensive zone play has been somewhat questionable. Gaustad has played well, but he blew two golden opportunities to score last night. And Pominville scares me a little bit. My cousin referenced him as the “most un-clutch player ever”, which I cannot totally agree with at this point. I will always have the image of him scoring in Ottawa seared in my brain, but he has been pretty bad this series. He cannot get anything going, which is a shame because he was playing so well at the end of the regular season.

Only time will tell what is going to happen with this team. Wednesday is as close to a must win as it gets, and I will be in attendance once again. I still feel confident that they can win this series, but who knows? The only thing I ask from the fanbase is to take it one step at a time. Leave Miller alone, this series deficit is not his fault. And let the powerplay do its job. If they  had a lane, they would shoot the puck.

Enough ranting for one night. Go Sabres.

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