Ryan Miller played a fine game, but again allowed three goals. He has allowed three or more goals in nine of his last ten outings.
To be fair, Miller probably isn’t to blame for this loss. In fact, he has been playing some strong hockey lately, he just isn’t getting the results to show for his effort. The numbers certainly work against him. Between the win-loss record, his goals against and his save percentage; Miller is not earning the money the Sabres are paying him.
What is important to realize is that Miller is not the crux of the issue at hand. The Sabres continually fail to provide secondary scoring, continually lapse in the defensive zone and rarely muster the moxie to perform in big moments.
The issues with this team go beyond an identity crisis, beyond a stagnant coach and beyond a franchise goaltender struggling to find his game. There seems to be a top-to-bottom systematic failure on this team and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
To say the time to fix the squad is now would be foolish. The time to act would have been weeks ago, when the slide was apparent and there was still time to bail out the boat. It certainly appears as if this ship has taken on too much water.
- Both goalies playing tonight have been struggling this season. Neither outplayed the other and each were victimized by similar plays in the third period. In fact, Buffalo’s first goal and Carolina’s third were results of defensive breakdowns.
- Last thought on Miller’ he needs to make the big save on LaRose in the third. That wasn’t a particularly fantastic goal and is one you expect him to stop. While the first two are forgivable, the third one is a shot he needs to have. I’d say the fluky second goal too, but since Ward was beaten on a nearly identical play, it is a wash.
- Drew Stafford was signed to score goals. Goal scorers usually cash in on open shots from the slot. Not only does his contract look like a poor investment, he lethargic play is likely starting to wear on most Sabres fans.
- Tyler Myers was fantastic tonight. The Two Towers pairing between he and Brayen McNabb will be a cornerstone of this franchise. Myers needs to roll this performance into the games immediately preceding his injury. He was playing good hockey and it would seem the streak may have continued through his absence. Still, he needs to bottle that game and bring it every night.
- At what point will Lindy Ruff answer for the inexplicable decision to keep Marc-Andre Gragnani in the lineup. Injuries be damned, T.J. Brennan plays a more physical, engaging defensive game. Based on the way this team is playing, that is the type of defender the Sabres need. You would have to think Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth have only this thought when Gragnani steps on the ice:
1. Eric Staal
2. Chad LaRose
3. Cam Ward