Friday, March 9, 2007
Wild 5, Sabres 1
That was the mood in the building, the pulse of the game and the thick air of defeat in the locker room after the Minnesota Wild made their tri-ennial visit to HSBC Arena and gave the Sabres a good old fashioned beatdown.
A beatdown? Buffalo did put 36 shots on net, but prospect goaltender Josh Harding made 35 saves, and only Mike Ryan's late tally messed up what would have been Harding's third shutout since his callup to the NHL.
The Sabres really didn't play poorly... there just seems to be no zip or magic in their play the last two games.
Everyone thought Ty Conklin would get his first Sabres start tonight, but when the lineup sheets were handed out, it was Miller between the pipes. Conklin did get into the game when Miller was pulled after the Wild got their fourth goal. He made several saves in the unspectacular category, then got beat on a shorthanded breakaway as the game wound down.
I asked Ty if he expected the start tonight and also was he disappointed... he said no and not to believe the blogs and papers about his much heralded start, but as he spoke I was reading between the lines and thought he was indeed disappointed. Lindy Ruff did address this in his post game comments, sayng he has sat down with Conklin, gone over the game schedule and told the press that Conklin knows exactly when he is going to play and what is expected of him. That being said, it will be Ryan Miller in goal tomorrow vs New Jersey.
Miller was nowhere to be found after the game... me thinks the jeers he heard from the crowd didn't sit too well with him.
And speaking of jeers, things are starting to get ugly with these so called fans at HSBC Arena... this team really needs the 7th man in the building, but the energy and the passion in the stands has really been lacking these last two nights. Next, now that Nicholas Picholas has been truncated to spot duty on the jumbotron, the derision is starting to turn towards lead national anthem singer Doug Allen.
So a couple takes here - First, having been to every NHL venue, I have experienced some God-awful anthem renditions in some of the yee-haw hockey markets, and all that does is make me appreciate that much more what a solid job Allen does with the two anthems.
Second, can't Sabres fans save their jeers and heckling for the visiting teams and leave the home town people alone? What the hell is going on with some of these people in the stands they are behaving like morons!
So now we turn towards tomorrow night and it is New Jersey coming to town... win and our boys make a great statement for who should be number one in the East. Lose, and it means taking the stench of this dreary homestand onto what will be a difficult road trip.
The puck drops at 7PM... Pete will be covering tomorrow night. I will be in the stands wearing my Sabres jersey, enjoying a couple cold ones and cheering my ass off.