To their credit, the Buffalo Sabres didn’t fold like a tent once they fell down three goals in Ottawa Tuesday night, a welcomed contrast to their running for the buses in Montreal last Saturday. The Sabres made a 4-1 deficit a one goal game late in the final minutes, and nearly got a goal from Jordan Leopold to tie it in the waning seconds.
Unfortunately coming close doesn’t count in the standings and at the end of the night, Buffalo lost to the Senators, 4-3.
After a pair of wins to start the season, Buffalo is now 1-6-1 in their last eight. We may only be 10 games into a 48-game season, but at this rate missing the playoffs for a fourth time in six years looks like a mere formality.
Tyler Ennis, Leopold and Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo, who collectively took off the better part of the first 40 minutes as Ottawa built a three goal lead by 8:12 of the second period. They certainly weren’t helped much by goaltender Jhonas Enroth as he got the rare start in place of Ryan Miller.
Enroth rarely made a key save, surrendered far too many chunky rebounds and generally had problems keeping sight of the puck. Let’s put it this way—it’ll probably be a long time before Lindy Ruff turns to him again.
Why should he? Blogger Dave Davis pointed out an incredible stat on Twitter— Enroth was 16-4-2 in his first 22 NHL decisions. Since then he’s 1-12-4.
I got a strong feeling he may be quickly running out of chances.
“We need better goaltending.” Ruff told reporters post-game in the understatement of the season.
As are the Sabres in general. The usual suspects played in Buffalo’s latest defeat; horrible in their end of the rink and abysmal on face offs. How bad? The Sabres won just 15-of-52 draws against the Senators. For those keeping score at home, that’s a pitiful win percentage of 29%.
There were a few bright spots. Despite having a minus one rating, Tyler Myers far and away had his best game of the season. He played a sound physical game and did a much better job of attacking with the puck. For the lack of a better word Leopold continued to stink defensively but at least he brought a goal and an assist to the table. Adam Pardy held his own in his first start on defense of the season and rookie T.J. Brennan had a couple of bombs from the point late that are sure to have Ruff excited.
The two were in the lineup because Christian Ehrhoff and Andrej Sekera were both out with injuries.
Buffalo only has one day off to try and wipe the stench away from this loss. They return home to face Montreal Thursday.