Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: eastern conference playoff race
What do you get when, during a stretch of three home games, your goaltender ends up with a 2.02 GAA and a .935 save percentage - and is named third star in one game and first star in another? If you’re the Sabres, you get zero points.
Thanks to uninspired losses to Toronto, St. Louis, and Washington, the hot streak is now a distant memory. Ryan Miller gave up exactly two goals in each of those three losses, but his team scored just two of their own in nine total periods of hockey.
As was mentioned here a week ago, the Sabres were en fuego because of a potent power play and the ability to win close games. But in their past three games, they lost a pair by 2-1 scores and went 1 for 9 on the power play.
This team has looked slow. Every time there’s a battle for the puck, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the other team will win it. The defense is having a tough time breaking cleanly out of the zone, and the forwards don’t have an answer for opponents that are clogging the shooting lanes by keeping all five skaters down low.
Thanks to the mediocrity that surrounds them in the standings, however, the Sabres are still in the thick of the playoff race. The Rangers and Hurricanes are on a combined skid of 5-12-3. Buffalo has three games left in their six-game home stand, and the next two are against the falling Thrashers and Senators. These opportunities won’t last forever.