Buffalo - October 14, 2014 - Following every Sabres game, we’ll be taking a little look at the previous night’s action with a little segment called “good, bad and ugly”. Expect a loooooooot of ugly.
The score doesn’t suggest it, but Michal Neuvirth actually had himself a pretty decent game. See, part of the problem with playing goal for the Sabres is that you’re going to face a lot of rubber. Like A LOT of rubber and it was no different for Neuvirth on Monday afternoon, facing 44 shots.
Sure, the Ducks hung five on the Sabres but honestly, it could have been 12-1 if not for Neuvirth. He showed off a strong glove hand and made some very tough saves in what was an overall very tough outing for the team.
I’m not sure if it was frustration or a sign of things to come, but things got really chippy midway through the contest. Mike Weber took a blatantly late run at Devante Smith-Pelley and Josh Gorges tried to low-bridge Patrick Maroon and ended up catching him in the knee. Needless to say, the Ducks were taking shots at Gorges the rest of the day.
Speaking of the overall atmosphere of the game, it should be little surprise the Sabres lost given they gave the Ducks six power play opportunities. Granted, the Ducks only scored one with the man-advantage, but this can’t be a trend going forward. The Sabres were sloppy and undisciplined, spending much of their time running around and chasing the Ducks rather than taking the play to them.
I feel like one of the few who didn’t think the offense would be much better than it was last year, but holy smokes is the offense bad. There isn’t much talent there, but I’m starting to at least wonder a little if it’s the coaching scheme when the team only collects 12 shots. This is the NHL: sure, there are talent disparities, but this is more than that.
There seems to be no cohesion or flow to anything the team tries offensively. They can’t control the puck in the offensive zone (unless it’s the fourth line and even then, they can cycle but not much else), they fail to use the points in anything resembling an effective manner and there is little to nothing happening in front of the net.
The only truly solid chance I can recall seeing, aside from the goal, was a puck that just happened to pop onto the stick of a wide-open Sam Reinhart in the slot during the second period. Needless to say, he didn’t bury it, but at least it was something resembling a real opportunity.
Normally, fans should have a reason to be upset about this. But this is what we wanted. This is what we need. If there’s any year to be awful, this is it and the Sabres are off to a flying start.
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