Montreal - February 4, 2015 - 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 losing streak continues…wait, what? They won? No, they didn’t and it’s not funny that you’re messing with me. Seriously, they won? And they beat one of the best teams in the East? Well hell, let’s get right into that.
A WIN! A WIN! BY GOD, A WIN!
I’ve been very vocal about the tank effort, but I’d say losing 14-straight was probably enough for right now and a win would’ve been okay somewhere in there. Though it feels good for them to finally get off the skid, I am so thankful that Tim Murray is smart enough to leave most of the kids elsewhere while this team struggles. Yeah, Zadorov and Ristolainen are here but that’s because they belong here and defensemen typically need a bit longer anyways. Let them get their lumps in now.
As for actual game stuff, there were two things worth noting: the Sabres didn’t play that well overall, but Rob Ray summed it up nicely: they competed. They worked hard along the wall, they didn’t make things easy for the Canadiens and they made the most of the opportunities that were presented to them. That’s what winning teams do. They take nights like this, where maybe they don’t deserve to win, and figure it out.
Also worth noting is that Drew Stafford was pretty good. I’ve been a long-standing critic of Stafford, his fluctuating effort levels and his (lack of) production, but he was good last night. He not only scored the first goal of the night, but he worked hard playing defense, he created chances around the net and he presented a problem for the Habs. This is why he’s frustrating. He could be this all of the time, but tends to loaf through stretches and appears to be apathetic. If he tried, he could be a pretty damn good power forward. Maybe he’ll get traded in a month and figure that out elsewhere.
Why do you guys hate leads so much? Fun fact: this was the sixth-straight game the Sabres have scored first. You’d think in those other five, surely it would’ve led to a victory, but that’s what happens when you can’t protect a lead to save your life.
It took the Habs all of three minutes to tie the game after Stafford scored five minutes in – granted, it was started thanks to a questionable hit from Brandon Prust – and it’s become a very worrying trend over the course of not only this losing streak, but the season as a whole.
It’s the mark of a bad team. When you’re a bad team, you find ways to lose when you obviously want the opposite. Things just kind of happen to you and there’s really nothing you can do to stop that momentum. Thankfully, Moulson and Gionta gave them the 3-1 advantage heading into the break and they never looked back.
This is still an awful, terrible team. Enroth had to be quite good (stopping 32 of 34) for them to win and they were outshot nearly 2:1 (34-18) yet again. The way they play, it’s little wonder they’d dropped 14-straight. You can’t get outshot every night and lean on your goaltending the way they do and expect to win many games.
On top of that, you can see little glimmers of hope, but that usually depends on how hard Stafford and the ever frustrating Chris Stewart feel like playing that night. They both have the ability to make an impact on the game in a positive manner, but neither likes to put 60 minutes together. When two of your more talented players hardly give a crap, it’s difficult to get much traction.
When you’re this bad of a team, there should never be a night where it looks like you’re not trying and there are nights where it just looks like they flat out aren’t trying.
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