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Buffalo Sabres Lost Out on a Golden Opportunity

February 11th, 2013 at 1:27 PM
By Mike Matisz

It isn't often you head into the second half of a back-to-back schedule against your team's rival. In fact, both of these games were against the NortheastDivision-leading Boston Bruins. It's even more rare that the Sabres had a chance to win both games and gain signficant ground in the divsion. For the Sabres, that was the exact situation they were in while being tied 1-1 with the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center. 

Ryan Miller was standing on his head for the second night in a row, making numerous saves in bad situations that kept the team alive. But for Miller, it would be his defensemen and forwards that let him down.

While Tyler Myers sat due to poor play, it was the poor play of some of the other defenders that helped Boston seize control of the game. 

Mike Weber couldn't stay out of the penalty box. His delay-of-game penalty, which was a misplayed puck over the glass, set up the game-winning goal in the third period. 

Andrej Sekera and others couldn't move the puck out of the zone safely, giving the puck away in the middle of the ice.

As a whole, the defense turned the puck over repeatedly and has yet to prove that they have the ability to move fluidly out of their zone. Head voach Lindy Ruff has been working with them in practice to make it better, but it hasn't translated to the ice yet.

"A couple of those plays, yeah, I shake my head," Ruff said. "I thought Andrej [Sekera] could have moved the puck a little bit quicker."

As a whole, the team had problems with puck handling and couldn't clear the zone on a consistent basis.

"You've gotta take better care of the puck. When you throw it in the middle of the ice — it's the toughest place to defend."

The Sabres could point the finger at the fact that the Bruins game against the Lightning was postponed and they had the extra night off. However, the team cannot use that as an excuse for their poor play. The Bruins weren't the players turning the puck over, nor did they miss on their scoring opportunities.

"I thought the Ennis line had some good energy and some good jump." Ruff stated. "The couple lines that had put in some serious ice time didn't quite have the energy tonight."

The Sabres will have to hope that the energy they bring to the next matchup matches the Bruins for the whole 60 minutes. They two teams face-off again on Friday from First Niagara Center. 

Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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