What went wrong in this game?
To be honest, I have no idea. You can point the finger at a lot of the players on the Sabres squad and claim that they hadn’t stepped up in this game. You can look at the overall series and pick and choose at individual players; dissecting their stats. For instance, before Brad Boyes just scored in this game as I’m typing, he did not have any points at all in this series. In fact, he was the only player that played in every game (besides Miller) that did not have a point in this series. The acquisition was huge because we as Sabres fans did not expect anything like this so soon within the Pegula Era. He immediately had an impact in the New York Rangers game after the trade deadline and scored a huge goal. Throughout the rest of the regular season for the Sabres he would score a total of 14 points in 21 games. He has one more year with the Sabres so I’m hoping he shows up moreso during the regular season but we could have used his help during this entire series.
You can turn to look at the defensive play…Steve Montador, who was a +16 during the regular season, was a -1 during this series and was scratched in game seven. Chris Butler looked lost most nights and had ten minutes in penalties. If we compare Game 5 to Game 6 and also to Game 7, the defense was entirely non-existent on the ice. There was a reason Ryan had two shutouts during this season. The defense and Ryan himself had been spectacular. Injuries affected them, sure, but the defensive breakdowns were inexcusable. It’s something that will have to be looked at in the offseason.
Top six not showing up at crucial points, especially tonight’s game. If you read numerous quotes, the Sabres claimed they were ready for this game. They didn’t show up until the third period. The Flyers poured on the offensive power like they know best and proved why they are the better team. Maybe not the most respectful team out of the two, but the better one, and unfortunately that’s what counts in the playoffs. The Sabres just couldn’t match up to the adversity in the most important game when they needed it the most.
The thing that will be stuck in my head this summer is Game 6, at home. Crucial point where you could’ve wrapped things up. The Sabres were up 3-1 and then the Flyers ended up coming back from that deficit and won in overtime. I’ll be honest and say that after that loss, I lost a little faith in the team if only because they would come back to a loud building – I was right. Maybe it was my lack of faith that caused me to lose, or perhaps it wasn’t. We won’t know what the Sabres could have done to the Caps if they have moved on in this series. Now we’re left to wonder what could have been for another season. Locker clean out will come and go, then the long offseason. I think it’s going to be an exciting one, Sabres fans. Terry’s first as the owner and we’ll see what he can do. Let’s hope it instills some newfound hope into this organization that goes on for the entire season.
Let’s go, Buffalo.