02-16-2013, 10:06 AM
Bruins @ Sabres - 2.15.2013 (Recap)
Final Score: 2-4
Filed under: Irony
] The Bruins (#1), only two regulation lossesof this season have come at the hands of the Sabres (#5). Why?
Generally, the Sabres consider the Bruins their benchmark opponent. The outcome of these matchups directly effects the teams self evaluation and confidence - despite what their overall record may be. Consequently, Miller & Crew always play up to the Bruins.
More specifically w/regard to this specific game...
- Miller played a great game, making 30 saves on 32 shots. And that's the upper edge of where you want to see Miller's SA number. He's best when facing <34 SA. When the Sabres skaters fell into their usual "Der...how do we get out of our own end?" lapses, Miller kept them in the game.
- Continuing on that thought, the Sabres limited their heretofore routine of "Der...how do we get out of our own end?". Didn't start off so good, considering the first half of the first period. But the Sabres eventually figured out how to get down ice.
- The Sabres stayed out of the sin bin, relatively speaking. Having to fend off only two minor penalties allowed Ruff to rotate his lines as he likes. This in turn means his skaters are more rested - not having to spend extra minutes defending against man advantages.
- Oh glory be to God, secondary scoring! With the Bruins attention focused primarily on Vanek (more on that later), it was imperative for the 2nd and 3rd lines to generate some offense. They did: Stafford - 1G/1A (sell high!); Ehrhoff 1G/1A; Gerbe - 1A; Ennis - 2A; Myers - 1G/1A; Foligno - 1A; Hodgson - 1G.
- So it's true, when the Sabres don't have to rely solely on Vanek for points, they play better as a team. Whouda thunk it?
- Myers had a huge game. His best yet, by far. Knocking guys off the puck, pinching when appropriate, and contributing to the score sheet. THAT's why ya won the Calder, ya knucklehead! Now get 'er done.
- So the winning formula is what it has always been: Miller @ <34 SA + Secondary Offense + Myers playing the way he can = WIN.
Expanding on a thought alluded to above, I considered warning Vanek owners to consider benching him this week. First, Vanek's been known to disappear in fits-and-spurts so that's nothing new. Additionally, on Feb 10th the Bruins showed that if you can contain Vanek and forecheck you will more than likely succeed in winning the game.
The next game, the Senators followed suit. And but for Stafford and Myers' contributions, the Bruins would have found success yet again last night.
Regretfully, I withheld my tale of caution only because the Sabres are at home for a stretch and figured who's gonna bench the Sabres leading offensive player when he's at home. Alas, Vanek has been held off the score sheet now for three staright, and I have a feeling the trend will continue.
Untill the Sabres learn consistency, building on last night's success of generating offense from other sources, I suspect teams will continue to focus their efforts in shutting down Vanek. And why not, really...the Sabres aren't noted for their consitency.
Now if you will excuse me, Saturday chores await.
Four out of three people have difficulty with fractions
Commish - Twisted Wrister
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