Game 45: Agony Followed By Apathy

Well, I can’t say I was surprised by the result of tonight’s game. Buffalo has been awful on the road for awhile now and the Red Wings were on a 14-game home winning-streak coming. All signs pointed to a blow-out and tonight’s game didn’t disappoint in that regard. The Sabres were absolutely outclassed and embarrassed by a score of 5-0.

 

1st Period: I was actually impressed with how the Sabres started off during the first few minutes. They had some solid jump and were skating toe-to-toe with the Red Wings. Gragnani put Buffalo in a precarious position by taking a hooking penalty early on. Fortunately, the Sabres did a really good job holding an impressive Red Wings power play unit at bay. Things were looking ok until about the 15-minute mark when Zetterberg sniped Miller from the top of the circle. That play got started, thanks to a terrible turnover by Leopold in his own zone. Detroit would take a penalty about a minute later though to give the Sabres a chance to tie the game up though.  Although they had a couple of decent scoring chances, nothing came of the opportunity, so it was still 1-0 Detroit.

Despite the early lead, Buffalo still kept up their effort from early in the game, which was a very welcomed deviation from the norm.  As the period went on, they were actually outplaying them and had a couple of really good scoring chances (Stafford’s post and the scrum in front of Howard with Roy’s line out there), but they couldn’t cash in. Despite being outplayed, the Red Wings managed to expand their lead near the end of the period. Johan Franzen took a great pass by Pavel Datsyuk and sniped Miller to make it 2-0. Once again, Leopold was out to lunch on this goal. Detroit wasn’t done though. With about 17 seconds left  in the period, a shot was taken by Miller and both Leopold and Stafford weren’t paying any attention to the other side, allowing Nick Lidstrom to sneak in from the point and shoot the puck past Miller who had no chance of stopping the puck to make it 3-0 to end the period.

 

2nd Period:  Weber and Leopold continued their terrible play to start the period off. Weber got his pocket picked behind the Sabres’ net by Datsyuk and fed it to Bertuzzi who put it past Miller who wasn’t expecting his defenseman to throw up on himself. It didn’t end there for Buffalo though. Almost right after that, the Red Wings had a 2-on-1 that turned into a 2-on-2 when Boyes came back on the backcheck. The only problem was that Boyes didn’t really try to tie up his man, Derek Helm who took the pass from Drew Miller and scored to make it 5-0. The Sabres just looked they had completely given up. To no one’s surprise, Miller got pulled for Enroth (not his fault tonight).  Buffalo continued to just look flat and not threatening at all which made for a boring period since Detroit was content to just sit back and play defense with a 5-0, although Enroth did make a couple of nice saves. Hecht got a penalty for slashing Datsyuk to give the Red Wings their second power play of the game. Once again, the Sabres were up to the task of killing it off. The PK’s been pretty much the only thing that has gone right for Buffalo tonight. The score would remain 5-0 going into the 3rd.

 

3rd Period: The start of this period had the same kind of feel the 2nd did: flat and lifeless. Buffalo did actually get a power play chance early on after a scrum along the boards near the Sabres’ blueline, but couldn’t do much of anything on it. Both teams traded penalties at pretty much the same time after the power play ended to give us viewers some 4-on-4 action for just under two minutes, which did result in a couple of scoring opportunities for the Sabres, but Jimmy Howard was up to the task. From there we were treated with the following for the rest of the game: Sabres skate the puck into the Detroit zone, Detroit clears the puck.

 

Quick-hits:

-It’s really getting hard to care about this team, save for a handful of players. Something needs to change, even if it’s only a lateral move. I didn’t expect the Sabres to win tonight, but they just flat-out gave up and that’s unacceptable.

-The Red Wings weren’t even trying after the 1st period ended. From about the 2nd period onward, Babcock apparently called off the dogs. What they were doing outside on the ice was reminiscent of what my brother’s team has done when they’ve gone up against a terrible team and laid them to waste early on….just sit back and dump the puck and make a 2-3 passes before attempting a shot if and when you have some offensive zone time.

-I really felt bad for Ryan Miller tonight. He got absolutely embarrassed in front of his friends and family because his teammates decided to play like complete garbage in front of him.

-I can’t speak for Leopold because I haven’t followed him throughout his career, but tonight was easily Mike Weber’s worst game as a Buffalo Sabre.  To stick out like he did when the vast majority of the team was awful should speak volumes about how bad he and Weber were.

-Enroth got a shutout in relief. Maybe he should be the starter. /sarcasm

-Henrik Zetterberg had gone 13 games without scoring going into tonight. I guess the Sabres were just the tonic he needed.

-The Blackhawks might beat this team worse next game.

 

Game Scoresheet

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