Where's the Scoring?
Well last nights game against the Wings looked rather familiar. Another slow start by the home town Sabres, another uninspired 1st period, another early 3-0 hole, another road team walks out happy, another home loss, and more injuries. First the injuries Gerbe left early after Gaustad's skate cut through his lip and nose on a faceoff and Kaleta again left early (sound familiar? he has a little Timmy Connolly in him). Cory Tropp has been recalled from Rochester and Matt Ellis will jump back in the lineup tonight in Nashville.
The Sabres also now have 2 goals in 2 games both recorded by Jochen Hecht. Not the idle situation and the stingy Predators defense and goaltending are not what the doctor ordered. The usual players continue to struggle, just in case you forgot heres the list: Stafford, Roy, Leino, Gaustad, and Vanek. I wasn't a big believer in the Roy injury being the reason the Sabres rebounded last year. Now over 20 games into the season I'm not so sure Roy isn't a problem for this team. His tripping penalty on Kronwall last night where he lazily for no reason stuck his stick in between Kronwall's skates and brought him down summed up his entire season...lazy and low effort. Leino continues to be well Leino. He puts in the effort but refuses to shoot, over stick handle, and fall down. He would be a good 3rd line winger at 2 million not at 4.5 million. Vanek has cooled off since the line of Adam, Pommer, and Vanek was broken up. Ruff should reunite that line but will not because he never fixes something when he makes a mistake. Stafford and Goose what else can you say? Inconsistency has riddled their careers. Want to see a scarier look at how bad it is?:
Leino: 6 yrs 4.5 mil cap hit: 2G 5A 7PTS -5 25 Games
Stafford: 4 yrs 4 mil cap hit: 4G 8A 12PTS -5 24 Games
Gaustad: 1 yr 2.3 mil cap hit: 1G 5A 6PTS +1 25 Games
Roy: 2yrs 4 mil cap hit: 6G 10A 16PTS -4 25 Games
The good news for the Sabres is that Ryan Miller will patrol the blue paint again tonight for the first time since the Lucic hit. Just in time for the struggling squad. The former Vezina Trophy winner is a leader on and off the ice, he should have given the Sabres faithful a real dose of humble pie while he was out. Not many teams have a player of his caliber between the pipes. I anticipate Miller playing very well tonight and getting into a good groove this month. The only problem for the Sabres is that Nashville does have a goalie up to Miller's caliber, in Pekka Rinne. He won't be easy to beat tonight but the Sabres need to play inspired and drive the net against the defense first Preds (I'm not holding my breathe though).
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