Quick Hits: Stars vs. Sabres

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Heading into tonight’s game, the Buffalo Sabres seemed very confident in their ability to slow the Western Conference-best Dallas Stars. Safe to say that Buffalo underestimated their opponent this evening.

Things go off to a bad start for the Sabres. Less than a minute into the game, Buffalo was caught with their pants down in their defensive zone.

Zach Bogosian and Jake McCabe were doing their thing, as Tyler Ennis failed to take his man. Frustrating to watch, but these are the growing pains expected to happen as this Sabres squad improves.

Valeri Nichushkin’s 2nd goal of the season put the Stars up 1-0, at 0:51 of the first.

Nichukin’s goal would set the tone of how the remainder of the period would play out for both sides. We quickly realized that the Buffalo Sabres were no match for the Dallas Stars’ nearly lethal speed.

How would one figure this out? Simple, check the fancy stats: Dallas led both teams in SAT with a 21-11 advantage. Not a good way to start against an offensive juggernaut like the Dallas Stars.

The second period would be a little better for the Buffalo Sabres, but the gap was still very evident.

Buffalo struggled to gain and maintain offensive pressure. The shot totals were a little more favorable to the Sabres, despite the continuation of the overall offensive struggle. Buffalo only ended up being outshot 12-11 in the second, with SAT leaning slightly toward Dallas, 23-20.

As the game rolled into the third period, Buffalo would look to make the necessary adjustments and hope for the best at this point. It is no secret that the Sabres’ offense has struggled bad enough, especially against the upper echelon of National Hockey League teams.

Unfortunately, as the story goes against the better teams, the Sabres were unable to make the right changes quick enough.

Jason Spezza, noted-Sabre killer from his days in Ottawa, tallied his 7th goal of the season at 7:35 of the second period. Dallas moved to a 2-0 lead in this game, and appeared to be headed for another victory.

A few timely Senators penalties would spark the Buffalo Sabres, and finally wake their dormant offense.

A gorgeous Ryan O’Reilly (who else?) shot on the power play would get the Sabres on the board at 13:03. Assists came from Cody Franson and Tyler Ennis. Good passing lead to this goal, so it is paramount to point out how this one happened.

50 seconds later, it appeared as if the Sabres had tied this one up. Sam Reinhart had a wonderful shot that found its way past Stars goaltender Antti Niemi.

Lindy Ruff was quick to call the referee on this one to check the play. It appeared that Tyler Ennis was offsides, and the video replay confirmed Ruff’s suspicion. Gone is the Sabres momentum and more importantly, their second goal.

Buffalo would be unable to regain the momentum they had through the second goal, and a Dallas empty net goal (from Tyler Seguin) would finish this game off.

Dallas grabbed their league-leading 15th win in this one.

The Buffalo Sabres now sit 7th in the Atlantic Division with a record of 8-9-1 (17 points) and that record puts Buffalo 12th in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo plays again this Thursday night, when they hit the road to take on the St. Louis Blues.

Now, do you want to have some fun?

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    • DJ Bogo is back, baby.
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Hell yes, kiddies. This is a gorgeous development. I love Bogo so much. I mean, have you seen his mustache recently? My goodness. The man knows style.

Onto the hockey part of this drool fest. Zach Bogosian back means a lot of things for this Buffalo Sabres squad.

Bogosian will end up playing in the top pairing, likely with Rasmus Ristolainen.

Tonight, Bogosian tallied 21:03 TOI while playing in the second pairing. He struggled according to fancy stats, with tallying a -6 On-Ice Corsi Differential. Either way, it looks like Bogosian will slowly get worked back into the swing of things.

His return will allow the remaining defenders to take on a lesser role, which will allow said defenders to be much fresher throughout the duration of the game.

I see the return of Bogosian really helping a guy like Cody Franson. Franson will be able to play less 5-on-5 and more on the power play, where he clearly excels. For the record, Franson recorded 3:19 TOI on the power-play tonight. I love it when a good plan works out.

      • More Words!

 

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I’m supposed to write something here? I wrote this recap from the bottom up and I am too lazy this is too hard to delete. Oops.

      • No Goal.

 

Our pal Joe Yerdon went on to report that Lindy Ruff deflected any questions regarding tonight’s “No Goal”. Although it was the right call, people get so butthurt about something that happened 16 years ago.

I don’t really get mad because I was 8 at the time, and I liked pokemon and thought girls had cooties or something at that point. I let sports ruin my young adulthood, not my childhood.

If I talk about No Goal, I’m just taking the piss because I likely hate you and myself at the same time.

      • Preach it, Jamie Benn.

 

I almost fell asleep during this game, and totally thought it was me. NOPE. Jamie Benn said it was boring, so it was boring.

The Sabres offense is like “ok cool, we don’t want to work on a tuesday night so cool bye”.

Playing strong for a stretch caught up to the Sabres and they’re now struggling again offensively. Evander Kane wants to return soon, so maybe that’ll spark this offense (probably not).

This is all Brian Gionta’s fault.

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Written by Ryan Wolfe

Ryan Wolfe is the founder and editor-in-chief of BLTD Sports. He can be heard on the BLTD Podcast. Ryan's writing is also featured over at TheHockeyWriters.com.

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