Game 20: Maybe They Need To Wear White Jerseys At Home…

What started off as very promising home game degenerated into a typical 2011-12 Sabres home game as Buffalo dropped yet another home game, losing to Phoenix by a 4-2 score. Jhonas Enroth was shaky in goal after such a great start last night.

1st Period: Unlike pretty much every other home game Buffalo has played this season, they came out and played with some fire. They were buzzing all period long in the Phoenix end. Roy, Vanek, and Adam had glorious chances to blow the game wide-open early, but they were robbed by Smith or the post in Adam’s case. Vanek in particular had a lot of chances that just refused to go in. Despite all of that offensive presence by the Sabres, Phoenix would open the scoring, courtesy of a well-placed shot on the short-side of the net by Shane Doan. Raffi Torres tried doing something similar, but the post saved Enroth that time. The Sabres would tie the game up though. Jordan Leopold took a point-shot that Luke Adam deflected past Smith. Overall, the pace of the period was really fast and Buffalo was clearly the better team, despite what the 1-1 score would indicate.

2nd Period: I liked the start of the period. All four forward lines were flying out there and it looked like Buffalo was going to start where they left off in the 1st. Kaleta ended up finding the rebound from Leopold’s shot before anyone else could find it and stuffed it into the net to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. Things started really unravel for the Sabres as the period went on. They got sloppy and were constantly out of position and turning the puck over. The inevitable happened and Phoenix ended up tying the game on a 2-on-1 rush that was created by an bad pinch by Ehrhoff. Radim Vrbata took a shot that went right through Enroth’s five-hole. No excuse for Enroth to be so open like that. The pass was taken away by Leopold and all he had to do was stay square on the shooter. Another 2-on-1 happened, only this time, Sekera blocked the initial shot only to have Paul Bissonnette aka @BizNasty2point0 (yes, you read that right) find the loose puck and fire it through Enroth’s legs yet again. Both of those goals were major softies. Phoenix would get a power play to end the period because Kaleta got really careless with his stick and accidently whacked Derek Morris in the face, but thankfully, the Sabres killed it off.

3rd Period: In typical Phoenix fashion, they really clamped down on the Sabres in the 3rd with the lead. Don’t let the shot total fool you. Most of those shots were easy saves for Smith. The only real highlight of the 3rd came when Regehr and the much-maligned ex-Sabre, Raffi Torres fought. Regehr took up for Ehrhoff after Torres left his feet to hit him and Torres made a bush-league move and pulled Regehr’s jersey over his head, cutting the fight short. Tyler Myers did not play at all in the 3rd and left the game with an “upper-body injury.” Hopefully he’ll be able to play against Boston. Having TJ Brennan make his debut against the Bruins would horrible. Anyways, Phoenix would add an empty-netter that was scored by Vrbata to make it 4-2 and ice the game.

Quick-hit time:

-The book seems to be out Enroth. Either shoot five-hole or short-side against him. It will be up to him to make the adjustments. Otherwise, I don’t see this honeymoon lasting too long. Hopefully, those short-comings get corrected.

-Deja vu for Leino-Boyes-Stafford tonight. Lots of chances, no goals. Unlike last night, Boyes was carrying most of the weight for his line though.

-Yeah, you’ve got to bury those gimme chances guys.

-Jordan Leopold was the best Sabres player tonight. He played over 26 minutes, played great defense, and managed to get his shots through to contribute on the scoreboard.

-Christian Ehrhoff also played over 26 minutes, but he made a few big gaffes out there, especially on Phoenix’s 2nd goal.

-Vanek and Pominville’s point-streaks ended tonight. Good run guys. Just start a new one on Wednesday.

-Buffalo seems to be good for giving up at least one short-handed breakaway per game. Not good.

-Adam seems to have rejuvenated his game since being put with Gerbe and Tropp. He’ll keep himself from going down to Rochester if he can keep it up.

 

*This has nothing to do with the game, but I’m pretty excited for this week. On Monday, the 3rd edition of this year’s NHL Power Rankings will be posted and on Tuesday, look for the debut of the “Sabres Report Card.” Be sure to check them both out!*

 

Scoring Summary:

Buffalo- Adam (Leopold, Gerbe), Kaleta (Gaustad, Leopold)

Phoenix- Doan (Yandle, Morris), Vrbata (Klesla, Schlemko), Bissonnette (Chipchura, Aucoin), Vrbata ENG (Yandle)

Power Play:

Buffalo: 0-for-1

Phoenix: 0-for-2

Scoring Per Period

1

2

3

Total

Buffalo

1

1

0

2

Phoenix

1

2

1

4

Shots On Goal

1

2

3

Total

Buffalo

16

14

14

44

Phoenix

8

15

6

29

Team Stats

Hits

Giveaways

Takeaways

Faceoffs Won

PIM

Buffalo

13

12

9

29

9

Phoenix

24

9

1

25

7

Game Scoresheet

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