Buffalo - October 20, 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.
Note: this is a weekend edition, covering the action from Friday and Saturday night against the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins.
Poor Jhonas Enroth. The guy played his nards off on Friday, stopping 34 of 35 shots and still couldn’t walk away with a win. Such is life when you play for the Buffalo Sabres. He was also the team’s best penalty killer as the team shut down all five chances from the Panthers on the night.
On Saturday, he wasn’t particularly great, but it’s hard to be on this team against a team like Boston. Especially against a team like Boston that’s struggled out of the gates and needed to do something to make a statement. Flogging a terrible opponent is a statement, I suppose. Either way, if it weren’t for Enroth so far this season, things could have somehow been far uglier.
My god, watching this team chase the opposition is akin to watching a squirt player chase his coach. It’s little wonder the team is losing the way it is when they spend half the game chasing the puck around. There have been a few instances where the game has been tight late, but the Sabres spend the majority of their time simply trying to get the puck instead of trying to tie the game with a late flurry.
I don’t know how much of that ties into the obvious talent disparity between the Sabres and the rest of the league and how much of this is a system issue. It just seems to me that any NHL team should be able to possess the puck with some regularity or at least be able to get it when they desperately need it.
Not only that, but the defense consistently gives up 30+ shots per game. How the hell is this team going to win doing that? How are they this bad defensively? Is the issue with the forwards or are the defensemen playing that poorly? I’m not panicking about this team because anyone with sense should’ve realized this would be a tire fire again this year, but the possession and shot issues are really striking. I hope it’s just a talent issue, but it worries me.
I bet you thought the offense was going to be better than last season. I bet you got suckered in when they brought back Matt Moulson and then signed Brian Gionta. I bet you expected bounceback years from Cody Hodgson and Drew Stafford.
I wasn’t fooled and to see this sort of ineptitude once again, but man is it frustrating. The team didn’t score once on the weekend and has just eight goals in six games so far. There isn’t anything constituting pressure, the points have been basically ignored and the only offense has come from transition. Part of that is a possession issue – you can’t score if you don’t have the puck – but they’re just not putting shots on net. There’s too much handling of the puck with little intent on getting it to the front of the net.
Again, one hopes this is just a talent issue, but it’s alarming that they’re struggling to get pucks on net. This isn’t going to get any better as the year goes and when injuries set it in, it’ll only get that much worse.
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