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Blackhawks hand Sabres another helping of misery

Jan 18, 2012, 10:34 PM EDT

Buffalo Sabres v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

Here’s a formula for making a bad situation worse: play two road games in a row against the Central Division’s most explosive teams.

The Buffalo Sabres are finding that out this week as the Chicago Blackhawks picked up where the Detroit Red Wings left off, extending the struggling Sabres’ road losing streak to 10 games with a 6-2 beating. The bigger story should be that the Blackhawks took a temporary division/conference lead and tied the New York Rangers atop the NHL with 62 points, but there’s no denying that it’s tough to look away from the Sabres’ train wreck.

Brutal Buffalo stretches

The Sabres were 10-6-0 when they lost to the Boston Bruins when that notorious Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller collision happened on Nov. 12. Since then, their record dropped to 19-22-5 (which means they went 9-16-5) in about two months.

That big picture stretch is bad enough, but things have been even worse since mid-December, as they went 3-9-2 in a disconcerting 14-game span. It’s not as if every loss has been a meltdown, but their offense has been sputtering the entire time. They’ve peaked at three goals – a mark they’ve hit three times – and have been shut out twice in those 14 contests.

The outlook

Moving the increasingly reasonable trade/firing talk aside for a moment, the Sabres’ more immediate outlook is worrisome in its own right. They’re currently eight points out of eighth place, but that could jump to nine if the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals swap the Southeast Division lead. Either way, their postseason hopes are evaporating almost as quickly as their confidence.

The good-but-mostly-bad news is that Buffalo will have plenty of opportunities to break their away game issues going forward. The last four games of December are all on the road, starting with what could be a very challenging game against a Jets team that is far more formidable in hockey-mad Winnipeg.

***

Going into the season, tonight’s game probably looked like a clash between two Cup contenders from opposite conferences. With the wildly different paths both teams are taking, it instead ended up being a stark contrast between haves and have-nots.

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  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 19, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    “lordstanley716 – Jan 16, 2012: “blah blah blah Enroth is the future blah blah blah.” Quoting verbatim.

    If an .829 SV% is the future then things look pretty bleak in Buffalo. At least Ryan is stopping pucks at .898 clip. But hey, he let in 5 goals last game, you guys should totally bet the farm on some unproven backup who looks good this year only because Miller looks uncharacteristically bad.

    If you do trade him then, I beg of you, trade him to Toronto. Then you’ll have more than enough chances to see how stupid trading your franchise goalie would be.

  2. cshearing - Jan 19, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    I am not sure who thought this would be a match-up of Cup contenders before the season. Maybe that person needs some perspective.

  3. comeonnowguys - Jan 19, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    I don’t know, I think the bigger story should be the play by the Blackhawks’ rookies.

  4. bcjim - Jan 19, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    LOL. Remeber when PHT couldn’t run enough off/preseason stories about Pegula and how the Sabres were going to be so good? LMAO>

  5. rabidbillsfan - Jan 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Enroth is the future, but Today is the present, Miller and Enroth should continue to split time. Want to hear something desperate, can we have Butler, Montador, and Grier back please?

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