The Buffalo Sabres end their three-game road trip with a 2-1 record after their overtime win against the Phoenix Coyotes last night at the Jobing.com arena. They closed out their three-game road trip w a 2-0-1 record ending with five out of six possible points.
While Phoenix dominated Buffalo in the second period, they gave Ryan Miller quite the unexpected workout outshooting the Sabres 25-20 in the middle stanza.
Forward Drew Stafford continued his scoring streak as he scored the game winning goal with 1:48 left in overtime.
“I was just trying to get a screen shot through,” Stafford said about his game winner. “I didn’t really see the goalie at all. I was just trying to shoot it through a hole and trying to get it on net. It happened to sneak in. It feels pretty good.”
It feels pretty good to keep hope alive for Buffalo proving that in the game of hockey always expect the unexpected. I’m not saying to expect that the New Jersey Devils or Edmonton Oilers are going to be making the playoffs here, but after the Sabres road trip out west they proved they’re giving it a fighting chance.
The Sabres are proof of just how quickly the game can change and they are finally making that climb up to where they need to be. They now have to prove themselves as a solid threat and they need to prove their not just a team finding lucky breaks.
To keep hope alive, the Sabres need to start thinking of making some moves with the trade deadline looming above their heads. In 2007 the Sabres were quick to trade Martin Biron to the Philadelphia Flyers. It just might be time now to show backup goaltender Patrick Lalime the same treatment.
Miller’s backup is anything but reliable. Lalime has not had a start since November 20th, but with a record of 0-4, a 3.03 goals against average, and a .890 save percentage who would want to start him? Miller has started 18 straight games and showed signs of wear and tear on the road. Miller is expected to mind his net every game and play defense since this is one area Buffalo is showing some severe weakness.
The trade deadline (February 28) is not far off and it might be time to arrange for a backup goalie and some defensemen to come in and put on some blue and gold. Otherwise History might be repeating itself in Buffalo. Dominik Hasek was the Buffalo Sabres from 1992-98.
When the hope of your team’s success rests on the shoulders of one player you can be certain Lord Stanley will not be making an appearance. That same feeling is emerging now with Miller in net. He managed to carry the team this far. Its time for a break before he crashes and burns and Buffalo finds themselves once again out of the playoffs.
The Sabres schedule is looking positive for them to keep climbing the point’s ladder in the coming weeks. Only one back to back game and the nice All Star break can give them some crucial ice time to get back to focusing on making plays.
The Sabres return home on Tuesday when they face the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 p.m. at HSBC Arena.