Coming into this season, fans expected growing pains from the young Buffalo Sabres.
That was on full display tonight as the Sabres fell to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Sabres turned the puck over constantly, and it proved costly. Less than 40 seconds after a beautiful deflection goal by Mikael Samuelsson, Rasmus Ristolainen coughed the puck up to Pavel Datsyuk, who lifted a slick backhand over Ryan Miller to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. The Red Wings would hold that lead until midway through the third period, when Zemgus Girgensons took advantage of a Jimmy Howard miscue for his first-career NHL goal.
But that's as close as Buffalo would get.
The Sabres seemed to be playing from behind almost immediately. Their youth and inexperience was evident early and often. Buffalo had two different 5-on-3 chances and couldn't score on either one. The Sabres had difficulty gaining the Detroit zone all game, and with Miller on the bench, and the extra attacker on the ice, Buffalo had no shots on goal.
While the skaters on the ice were about as atrocious as they could have been, the Sabres had one bright spot. Miller played excellent in his season debut, stopping 32 of 34 shots. The two goals he gave up were quality chances, and he kept the Sabres in a game they had no business competing in.
Tonight's matchup was a true 'Men Against Boys' display. The Sabres looked lost, while Detroit looked sound. What's even more troubling, is that this is now a divisional matchup. The Sabres have some maturing to do and must do it fast, otherwise this season will be a long one for Sabres fans.
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