Buffalo, NY -
After finally getting a home win against Florida Friday night, the Sabres are right back to where before hand – searching for answers.
Two shorthand goals against, shaky goal-tending, and plenty of missed opportunities doomed the Sabres as they fell 4-1 to the New York Rangers in front of the 12th consecutive sellout at the First Niagara Center. The loss was Buffalo’s seventh in their last nine games at home.
Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, and Carl Hagelin did the scoring for the New York as HBO was present filming the Rangers for their “24/7: Road To The NHL Winter Classic” documentary. Goaltender Martin Biron made 32 saves in his winning effort. “It’s still a lot of fun to play here,” said Biron after the game. Biron now moves to 9-3-1 against the Sabres since being traded in 2007. He also received a nice ovation after the game when he was named the second star.
It is clear that frustration is starting to show in the locker room, but players are confident they will find their way out of their current home funk. “There’s some kind of frustration,” said Christian Ehrhoff. “We just need to reset.”
“We had more energy. We created a lot more. We skated a lot better,” Lindy Ruff said during his post game press conference.
Sure, it was a better game overall for Buffalo compared to last night’s tilt versus the Panthers, but scoring just one goal on countless opportunities won’t win any hockey games. “We kept missing them,” Ruff bluntly put it. “We had some good chances obviously. We probably had more chances in the first period than we had in the whole game, whole last game.”
“Overall we played a hard game. We had a lot of chances,” said the Sabres lone goal scorer on the night, Thomas Vanek. “Scoring one goal is not good enough.” Neither is getting two shorthanded goals scored against.
It is a problem that has reared it’s ugly head far too often for this team, horrendous powerplays.
For the second time this season the Sabres gave up two shorthanded goals in a game, both coming in their own building, due to poor decisions with the puck. Ehrhoff said it best afterwards, “you can’t win in this league with two goals against on your own powerplay.” Of course getting the play they did from Enroth won’t win them any hockey games either.
Enroth did make 29 saves on the night, but he gave up at least three goals that would even have Patrick Lalime asking, “How did you let that one in?” “I think I could’ve given up one goal.” Since starting this season winning seven out of his first eight starts, the Swedish netminder has gone 1-5-1 in his last seven starts. When asked if he sensed any frustration in the locker room Enroth did not shy down. “Yea, of course. But we trust each other.”
One has to wonder how much longer the players will continue to trust each other if the ship does not get righted soon.