Game 30: Aggressively-Passive

Another game, another home loss for the Sabres. This time, they dropped a game to the Ottawa Senators in overtime, 3-2. Ryan Miller did all he could to keep his team in it, making 41 saves.

 

1st Period: Things started quickly for Ottawa, thanks to a helter-skelter shift. A shot was fired in from the point by Ottawa and it pinballed around so much that the Sabres got themselves out of position and Ottawa was able to find the puck and get it past Ryan Miller, who was in no position to stop the puck. Almost immediately after that, Cody McCormick and Zenon Konopka fought: I’d call the result a draw. The fight didn’t do much to spark the team though. Vanek had a great chance to score, but was cut down by Anderson. That play should have resulted in a penalty shot for Vanek, but they just gave him a tripping penalty and Buffalo did nothing with the power play opportunity. Ottawa was outshooting the Sabres 10-4 at one point.

The Sabres started capitalizing on their chances around the five minute mark. “Chewy” aka, Paul Szczechura roofed a backhand over Anderson after some great forechecking by his line. Buffalo wasn’t done though. About a minute later, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, and Tyler Ennis had a great sequence of passing which finished up with Ennis going backhand-to-forehand and beating Anderson to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead and that’s how it would stay to end the period. Most of the offensive possession for Buffalo was on the perimeter, but they cleaned that up towards the end of period and were very opportunistic. Most importantly, they came out with the lead after getting outplayed for the most part.

 

2nd Period: Buffalo started off much better this period. They were severely limiting Ottawa’s offensive zone time and chances and they came up with a couple of their own. The Roy and Leino lines each had a great scoring chances and all four lines spent lots of time in the Ottawa end of the ice. Tyler Ennis took a stick in the chops around the 12:30-mark to give Buffalo their second power play of the game. This one featured a lot more movement than the last one, but most of the possession was on the perimeter. The Sabres did generate some good shots though, but they didn’t score on any of them.

From that point on, both teams played evenly. Ottawa would get a power play because of Vanek taking a hooking penalty with 8:46 left in the period, but Buffalo would kill it off. Shortly after the penalty expired, Colin Greening had a breakaway chance coming off the bench against Miller that ended up getting deflected off of Miller’s glove and the post; he tried using the famous “Kotalik shootout move” to beat him. The Senators would get another chance on the power play due to a bench minor for too-many men on the ice that would be served by Tyler Ennis. During the power play, Ottawa had thought they had tied the game up after the puck looked like it had gotten shoved past Miller down-low, but the refs and the Torono war-room apparently thought otherwise, so it remained 2-1 and they failed to score during the rest of that chance.

Drew Stafford took a bad penalty for cross-checking in the dying seconds of the period to give Ottawa a power play chance to tie the game up at 2-2 to start the 3rd. This was pretty much the opposite of the 1st period for Buffalo. They started off strong and as the period went on, they progressively got worse, especially towards the last few minutes. Milan Michalek collided with Erik Karlsson earlier in the period and wouldn’t return for the Sens.

 

3rd Period: The 3rd period had a crazy start. There was end-to-end action on the Sens power play which featured a 3-on-2 short-handed rush and a 1-on-1 that ended with Spezza being stood-up by McNabb. Once again, the Sens wouldn’t score on their power play chance. Drew Stafford made a great pass to Derek Roy shortly after the power play ended, but he failed to redirect the puck past Anderson. One thing that I hate is the way the Sabres take their foot of the gas when they have leads instead of going for the throat and the start of the 3rd period was no exception. Ottawa was outshooting Buffalo 8-1 during the first six minutes. The end result of sitting back was a result that has been pretty typical of this team this season. Peter Regin fired a shot from the point through a ton of bodies and beat Ryan Miller to tie the game at 2-2. The Ottawa onslaught continued until the 6:49 mark of the 3rd when Ottawa turned the puck over to give Vanek and the Sabres a scoring chance, which forced Jared Cowen to take a hooking penalty to give Buffalo another power play. A Derek Roy interference penalty negated the last half of the power play though; it was a chincy call to say the least. The best chance for either team for the rest of the period was a power move by Kassian. Other than that, it was a pretty quiet finish to the period as far as offense was concerned. However, Miller got bumped to end the period and Christian Ehrhoff of all people dropped the gloves and fought Regin. This would mean that he wouldn’t be available to the Sabres in OT.

 

Overtime: This period didn’t last long. The Sens broke into the Sabres zone and the puck made its way to a wide-open Jared Cowen who put the puck past Miller to give Ottawa the win. Drew Stafford failed to cover the trailer on the play, which led to the goal.

 

Onto the quick-hits:

-Enough is enough with this passive BS. I don’t understand why this team just flat-out refuses to go for the kill when they have the lead instead of sitting back and letting the other team walk all over you and get back into the game.

-At least Tyler Ennis seems to be progressively working his way out of his early season slump. He was all over the ice tonight.

-Ryan Miller kept his team in it. You can’t blame him on any of the goals.

-Mike Weber looked very good in his first game back in weeks.

-There’s no reason for Gragnani to be playing at all. He doesn’t help the power play and I’d much rather have a real forward playing on the 4th line.

-Props to Ehrhoff for going completely out of character at the end of the period. The majority of the Sabres players should have been taking notes.

-Vanek was bad tonight. He’s allowed to have a bad game once in awhile though. I’m not going to get too mad.

 

Scoring Summary:

Buffalo- Szczechura (Pominville), Ennis (Stafford, Roy)

Ottawa- Michalek (Spezza, Greening), Regin (Lee), Cowen (Karlsson, Spezza)

 

Power Play:

Buffalo: 0-for-3

Ottawa: 0-for-4

 

Scoring Per Period

1

2

3

OT

Total

Buffalo

2

0

0

0

2

Ottawa

1

0

1

1

3

Shots On Goal

1

2

3

OT

Total

Buffalo

12

11

6

0

29

Ottawa

13

16

13

2

44

 

Team Stats

Hits

Giveaways

Takeaways

Faceoffs Won

PIM

Buffalo

15

12

6

29

18

Ottawa

12

7

6

24

16

Game Scoresheet

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