In a game where the Buffalo crowd jeered the home team more than they cheered, the Sabres fell to the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 inside of First Niagara Center on a frigid Tuesday night.
“We’re not playing the caliber of hockey this city deserves, we deserve to get booed,” said Sabres netminder Ryan Miller after the game.
Following a scene depressingly similar to the start of Sunday’s contest against the Penguins, the Sabres found themselves down early. A fight for the puck behind the Buffalo net resulted in a pass sent to Jets’ center Bryan Little as he stood alone in front of Miller. One blast later and Winnipeg was on the board after just one minute of play.
The Jets lifted themselves to 2-0 not six minutes into the second period after Buffalo failed to escape their own zone. Winnipeg Captain Andrew Ladd wired a shot from between the circles that Miller partially stopped, but the puck trickled in behind him and into the net.
The Sabres finally gave the home crowd a reason to cheer with only 22 seconds remaining in the second period. Jason Pominville ended his six-game scoring drought while on a two-on-one rush that saw the Sabres captain patiently wait for his shot before throwing it top shelf over Ondrej Pavelec’s shoulder for his 7th goal on the season.
It ended up being their only reason to celebrate. Despite throwing 30 shots at Jets netminder Pavelec—who entered the game with a 3.15 goals against average and an .889 save percentage—the Sabres couldn’t light the lamp more than once to even the match. The ineffective offense was highlighted by three failed power play opportunities, the last of which occurred with under four minutes left in the game.
The Buffalo faithful didn’t shout for joy much before the Sabres’ lone goal. The home crowd booed the team heavily throughout the contest during lengthy stretches where they couldn’t gain control of the puck. They also cheered mockingly when the Sabres had a harmless entry into the Winnipeg zone during one point of the second period, as well as for a shot on goal by Christian Ehrhoff that was effortlessly thwarted by Pavelec.
“It was a terrible game by us, and what we were missing was the effort from everyone and I think the fans recognized that and they were voicing their displeasure,” said defenseman Robyn Regehr.
The Sabres are off now until Thursday, when they’ll visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 7 p.m. faceoff.