The Buffalo Sabres headed into tonight’s game looking to prove themselves following a tough 2-1 loss to Detroit just days before.
While Ryan Miller clearly did his job, with 45 saves, the rest of the team failed to leave that impression on Ron Rolston.
“We don’t have enough guys playing the right way right now early in the season,” Rolston said. ”So we’re back to square one. We didn’t play a very good hockey game at the end of the day.”
Once you put the game in that perspective, Rolston’s quote begins to make sense.
In the first period, there was not much exciting action. Momentum would shift back and forth between both teams.
Buffalo and Ottawa racked up three penalties a piece, and Buffalo allowed the Senators to tally 23 shots on goal.
The second period found itself to be a little more graceful to the Sabres. While the score remained tied throughout this period, it was Buffalo’s strongest period of the game. Not only did Buffalo manage to stay out of the penalty box, but it seemed as if they were turning the tide offensively.
Throughout this period, the Sabres would see multiple line changes due to inability to sustain offensive pressure.
“The compete has to be way, way higher at this level,” said Rolston.
The third period would bring a lot of the same from both Ottawa and Buffalo. Scoring chances from both, with solid play, but no points on the scoreboard.
That would change with about five minutes left in the third period. From watching the game, it became very evident that the intensity of the play had begun to ramp up.
Ottawa and Buffalo would trade close chances for the next few minutes until, with 1:35 remaining, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson scored his first goal of the season.
Buffalo would quickly pull Miller following Karlsson’s goal, but they were unable to sustain enough offensive pressure to score and tie the game.
Following the loss, Sabres co-captain Steve Ott was very reflective on the tough loss.
“It’s heart breaking, especially for Millsy,” Ott said. “I would’ve loved to see us get at least a point out there.”
Although head coach Ron Rolston was unhappy with the play of many Sabres players, he was quick to hand out praise for one line.
“Porter/Flynn/Girgensons was our best line,” Rolston said. “They played with effort and they played the right way. It’s a simple, simple game. That was our best line I thought.”
The Sabres have a very quick turnaround, as they’ll play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Puck drop is at 7 PM, and the game can be seen on MSG.