Game 10: Blind Stripes

Tonight’s game was a kick in the stones to fans. After dominating this same team in Florida, the Sabres laid another egg at home and lost 3-2 Florida, blowing yet another lead in the process. The officiating had a decent sized role in negatively affecting the outcome of this game as well.

1st Period: The big thing here was the goal by Matt Ellis that was disallowed because apparently, Ellis made a distinct kicking motion. Redirections like the one that occurred with Ellis happen all the time in the league. What was even more mind-boggling about the call was that the refs called it a goal on the ice. I have no idea how they found enough evidence to overturn the call on the ice. Ellis came back to make a great play to save a sure-goal for Florida on the back-check.

Other than that, not much happened, despite the back-and-forth play. Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta was good. Kaleta in particular was hitting everything in site. Vanek and Pominville were doing their thing, but Roy started to look like himself, which is a welcome sight. As I alluded to earlier, Matt Ellis was great as well. On defense, Sekera, Gragnani, and Regehr had solid periods, Myers and Leopold looked ok, and Ehrhoff looked off.  The power play still looked like garbage. No score through one for Florida and Buffalo.

2nd Period: Things started to pick up a bit, but it was still relatively quiet period, even though the back-and-forth play continued and a couple of goals were scored. Florida had the first goal of the game, a softy given up Ryan Miller from behind the net. Marcel Goc was the lucky recipient of the charity. Derek Roy was helping create some chances, but nothing was going on.

Ultimately, it was Vanek who got the team back in the game, juking Brian Campbell out of his skates and scoring on the wrap-around attempt after Theodore overcommitted on the play. The Sabres were awful again on the power play in their only attempt in the period.

As far as who was good in the second was concerned, it was pretty much the same cast, minus Gragnani who looked rattled in his own end. Ville Leino was so bad that Matt Ellis got promoted to his spot at LW with Roy & Stafford. Even though Ellis was having a monster game, that move still speaks volumes about how bad Leino was playing. The defense were a little too sloppy for my liking. The game was tied 1-1 going into the 3rd period.

3rd Period: Here’s where it started getting interesting. The power play actually contributed to the team, thanks to Brad Boyes’ spectacular pass to Pominville to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. Shortly after that, Jordan Leopold got boarded badly by Sturm and got a five-minute major and a game-misconduct. Stafford unfairly got a minor penalty for roughing after standing up for Leopold by knocking Sturm down.

With about four minutes left in the game, the Panthers tied the game, 2-2 when it was 4-on-4, thanks in large part to Ehrhoff losing his man, Fleischmann on the play. Gerbe was later called for a trip during a sequence of hard fore-checking by him. It was clear as day that Kuilikov dove on the play, but the refs apparently noticed. Gerbe also got an additional minor for unsportsmanlike conduct for a harmless chirp at the refs. I’ve seen players at all levels say way worse things at the ref and not get called for it. This reeked of the refs wanting to be a part of the game they were officiating.

The additional minor negated the power play the Sabres should have had because of  Sturm’s major penalty and during that time, the Panthers took the lead for good, 3-2, courtesy of a slap-shot by Jason Garrison from the point that deflected off of Roy’s stick. The defense-core was very sloppy during this period, giving up odd-man rushes galore and turned the puck over pretty frequently.

Here are my quick-hits:

-I hate it when refs are a big factor in games. Horrible job by them tonight.

-Derek Roy was the best skater on the ice, even though he wasn’t rewarded for it on the scoresheet. The points will come if he keeps playing like that. It didn’t help that he had dead-weight for wingers most of the night.

-Can’t say enough about how Vanek and Pominville have played so far this season. Each of them snagged another goal tonight and have carried this team on offense.

-Brad Boyes has seemingly found his game. This is the third game in the row where he has played well and he created another goal on the power play as well.

-Kaleta had a great first period (5 hits!) and a solid rest of the game.

-Ville Leino has looked like a square peg on a team full of round holes in this early part of the season. I know he’s a notoriously slow starter, but it’s really frustrating to watch. He got benched again by Lindy.

-Matt Ellis was great and was probably the next best forward on the ice behind Roy, Pominville, Vanek, and Boyes. I wish all the players on the team worked as hard as him.

-Ehrhoff was terrible. He looked like he was in outer space in his own end, most notably on Florida’s 2nd goal and made some bad decisions in the offensive end of the ice. Lindy needs to cut down his minutes a bit.

-Part of the reason Ehrhoff has had to play so much is because Lindy is shielding Gragnani by limiting his ice-time at even-strength. Having a complete 3rd pairing would help ease the load of Ehrhoff and the rest of the defensemen. It’s time for Mike Weber to play.

-Sekera and Regehr were holding down the fort defensively again. Myers, Leopold, and Ehrhoff need to step their games up in their own end of the ice.

-Ryan Miller made some great saves on a couple of break-aways and some odd-man rushes, but that first goal he gave up was beyond soft. Not much he could do on goals 2 & 3. Overall, he had a good game.

Scoring Summary:

Buffalo: Vanek (Adam, Myers), Pominville PPG (Boyes, Ehrhoff)

Florida: Goc (Upshall, Kopecky), Fleischmann (Kopecky, Garrison), Garrison PPG (Campbell, Kopecky)

Power Play:

Buffalo: 1-for-4

Florida: 1-for-6

Scoring Per Period

1

2

3

Buffalo 0 1 1
Florida 0 1 2
Shots On Goal

1

2

3

Total

Buffalo 8 6 12 26
Florida 5 13 18 36
Team Stats

Hits

Giveaways

Takeaways

Faceoffs Won

PIM

Buffalo 20 6 3 31 12
Florida 14 6 6 26 23

Game Scoresheet

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