Thursday, April 22, 2010

What is Behind the Sabres Lack of Production in the Playoffs?

The Sabres are one game away from elimination after former Sabre Miro Satan scored the game winner in Double Overtime last night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at TD Garden in Boston. The Sabres led after 2 periods 2-0 on goals by Steve Montador and Tim Kennedy. But that was suppost to be all the support that Ryan Miller would need but in Buffalo playoff fashion, the Sabres blow the 2-0 lead in the first half of the third period when Boston scored two goals on the powerplay before netting in the game winner in the second Overtime period.

Where have the Sabres gone? Buffalo won the Northeast Division by putting the puck in the net, playing good defense and having the goalie that saves everything and then some. So far this post season the "real" Sabres have only been out once and that was in Game 1 back at HSBC Arena. Game 2 had its moments as well as Game 3 but the Sabres have failed to put the puck in the net and also fail to clear the puck away from the net. Some say that the reason behind the Sabres demise this post-season is due to the lack of offensive production and also the bad calls made by the referees. Lets talk about the refs for a minute... Yes Matt Ellis told the Buffalo media after Game 3 that the hit he took was a clean hit and yes it was to a point... the point being that his head was down and we know that when someone's head is down, you will be punnished for it... Just ask RJ Umberger after Brian Campbell hit him back in the 2005-2006 playoffs

So the hit was clean but the calls in Game 4 was absolutely terrible. I mean come on a bad call when Patrick Kaleta took Lucic to the boards and after Lucic fell to the ice, the refs called it boarding and as a result, Boston scored on the powerplay. And then the too-many men pelenty gave the Bruins the win in OT.

But lets move on to the lack of offensive production that is produced by the Sabres offense. The Sabres have scored 8 goals so far this postseason and that is not high enough to win a series and let alone, win a hockey game. The Sabres are averaging two goals a game and that is definitely not high enough to win a playoff game. Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy plus others have failed in my eyes to produce this postseason. If the goal productions are coming from Craig Rivet, Steve Montador, Tim Kennedy and Mike Grier, you are not going to win hockey games I am sorry. Buffalo needs a goal scorer who can put the puck in the net and they also need someone to stand infront of the net in order to get a rebound or two and that creates offensive opportunities and they need them in order to score and to win.

Teams have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-seven series a total of 220 times and have come back to win the series on 20 of those occasions or 9.1% of the time.  The last time it happened was back in 2004 as the Montreal Canadians came back in the Conference Quarters and defeat the Boston Bruins. So it can be done Buffalo sports fans but it is along road ahead and it starts with Game 5 Friday night at HSBC Arena.