Dec 28, 2011, 10:27 PM EDT
The Buffalo Sabres came into this season with big expectations, but their goals are whittling down to the same ones they had midway through 2010-11: simply claw their way into the playoffs. The New Jersey Devils are likely to be one of those “bubble” teams, so dropping a 3-1 loss to them cannot feel good.
The turning point?
Then again, the Sabres haven’t felt very good since they took a four-game winning streak into Boston on Nov. 12. Call it an easy narrative if you’d like, but times have been pretty lean since Milan Lucic clobbered Ryan Miller.
Since then, the Sabres have gone 7-11-3 to drop their overall record to 17-16-3. Buffalo went from second place in the Northeast Division and fourth in the East before that collision to fourth in their division and 11th in the conference today.
Who’s to blame?
The Versus gang pointed a finger at Miller and he’s certainly been disappointing, but it’s a team-wide concern. Despite some expensive should-be enhancements, their offense is inconsistent, their defense is as lax as its ever been and, yes, their goalie isn’t earning his big contract.
It’s tough to say what they really need to do – unless you’re in the subset who believes the team should make the drastic move of trading Miller – so improvement will have to come from within.
(Unless the Sabres decide to fire Lindy Ruff, the league’s longest tenured coach in the NHL, of course.)
- NHL on NBCSN: Capitals fight to earn first win vs. Penguins in 26 months 3
- Vanquished: Isles stun Canucks with seven-goal third period 23
- Peverley asked to return to game following ‘cardiac event’ 23
- Peverley hospitalized, conscious after collapsing on Stars bench (Update) 17
- Sens’ Ceci won’t return after Weber’s shot lacerates his ear (Update) 8
- Gillis pleads his case: ‘We are enduring a challenging period’ 25
- Nolan gets a game for punching ‘unsuspecting’ Joensuu 38
- It doesn’t sound like 3-on-3 overtime is going to be a thing 38
- Blues finish night on top of NHL standings after shootout win 15
- Kings’ Nolan gets double-minor for punching Oilers’ Joensuu 54
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack (71)
- Report: Flyers table ‘substantial offer’ for Kesler, also inquiring about Edler (59)