Buffalo - November 10, 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.
This is another weekend edition and let’s just say there won’t be much good following a 3-2 loss to the Oilers and a 6-1 demolishing at the hands of the Penguins.
Can someone please help Michal Neuvirth? The guy stood on his head on Friday night, stopping 49 of 52 shots to even give the Sabres a shot at winning the game late. Both he and Jhonas Enroth have been quietly very good for the Sabres and I think it’s safe to say that most don’t realize just how much worse the Sabres would be if their goaltending were even a little mediocre. Major props to Neuvirth for his efforts; hopefully for his sake, his play will earn him a reprieve via trade later this year.
The only other Sabres-related good from either game goes to Drew Stafford, I guess. He got on the board for his third of the season against Edmonton on Friday and has proven himself to be something of an Oiler-killer. He’s got 10 points in seven career games against the Oilers and at least a goal in six of those seven games. So stick tap for that.
I’m going to take this time to issue a good to the opposition: Sidney Crosby is a monster and he’s the entire reason Sabres fans want to be as awful as possible to land Connor McDavid. He had five assists on Saturday night, bringing him to 17 on the season. To put some context on it: the Sabres’ top two scorers have 15 points combined. He has more assists than the top two Sabres have points! But seriously, the guy is a machine and the best player on the planet hands down.
Once again, the team found itself with a rare late lead on Friday and let it slip through. After Stafford netted his third of the year 6:34 into the third, the Sabres not only lost their lead but gave it back to the Oilers, giving up the tying goal to Mark Arcobello five minutes later and the game-winner to Boyd Gordon four minutes after that.
I feel like I’ve said this a million times, but it’s going to be a hard enough battle for the Sabres this season without giving up the lead the few times they actually do have it. This is going to be part of the growing pains that come with having a bad team, but it’s just frustrating that the few times they’re actually competitive, they can’t get out of their own way long enough to actually win.
Somehow, they gave up 13 fewer shots to the Penguins, but gave up twice the goals. I guess that’s what happens when you deal with the number-one offense in the league. This thing was over three minutes in as Patric Hornqvist’s power-play goal made it 2-0. This year, a 2-0 lead on the Sabres might as well be a 10-0 lead.
Crosby has owned the Sabres pretty much every time he’s met them, running up his scoring streak against them to 19 games. He’s got 10 goals, 26 assists in that stretch, which began back on December 29th, 2007.
The Sabres are competitive enough most nights to not be embarrassing, but when they run into teams like this, it gets ugly early and you’re reminded of just how much farther they have to go before they are actually a good team again.
Follow me on Twitter: @TwoPadStackRW