Game #61 Recap: Second Half Shenanigans
Lately, the Sabres were slipping up during the second period but recovered enough to win. Tonight, they decided to mess around for the entire second half of the game and it cost them. With Montreal winning in regulation, the Sabres had a golden opportunity to climb within one point of 8th place. Instead, they coughed up a two goal lead and were defeated in the shootout.
The game began promisingly enough with the Sabres swarming, shooting, raising hell, and creating turnovers. But once the game was half over, the wheels fell off. The Sabres can’t do that against a club like the Detroit Red Wings, who will pounce when they smell fear. Against a team with endless forward depth, you just don’t sit back. And they did.
Ryan Miller deserves a ton of credit for keeping the Sabres in the game, making clutch saves left and right. Sekera had a great game early, and Gerbe made a fine bunch of defensive plays tonight. But overall, the team just collapsed late. One player who stood strong against the tide was Shaone Morrisonn, who had a handful of shifts tonight that were sterling including making a save on a guaranteed goal and clearing it from danger. Seeing a defenseman make a play like that is always a beautiful thing.
What worked tonight and what didn’t is par for the course as of late. Their forecheck and tendency to raise hell was on display early and the transition game has improved markedly. Yet again, though, they got caught in their own zone far too easily. The Sabres don’t play again until 3/1, so they have plenty of time to work on their defensive zone breakout and finish down low.
As bad as it is to waste a two goal lead and lose, the team is only two points back from Carolina with two games in hand. Going .500 or better on the road during this long trip will set up the 3/15 home game vs the Hurricanes as the biggest game of the season.