How well do you skate?
The buzzwords for Lindy Ruff tonight as he angrily eats his dinner and lays his steaming head down to sleep are knees and slashes.
Are those the legitimate and sole reasons the Sabres lost earlier this afternoon?
Absolutely not, but as they say, it ain’t helping!
With Buffalo playing an outstanding 1st stanza, they came out in the 2nd with a little less zip on their collective fastball, but only minutes into the 2nd, they had a glorious opportunity to go up 3-0 and effectively end the game.
Derek Roy blocked a point shot which popped the puck into the air out to the neutral zone.
Thomas Vanek bolted for the loose puck like a bloodhound sniffing around for scraps off the dinner table and zipped into the zone.
Bruins D Johnny Boychuk was caught flat footed at the airborne disc off the block and was a step behind TV.
Thomas was clear into the Boston zone with Johnny be bad a step behind to his right, and oh was Johnny bad.
Have a look for yourself :
Was Boychuk intending to injure TV? No.
Was he trying to go for the stick? No. He was hoping to catch the stick, but his clear intent was to hopefully catch a piece of anything he could to prevent Vanek from scoring knowing full well that going down 3-0 was death.
While Boychuk has no history of questionable play, why does that matter?
At what point are players FINALLY going to be held accountable for how they use their sticks?
Far, far, far too many players wield their sticks like they are samurai warriors as if it is acceptable to do that when you are beaten on a play.
Boychuk clearly went 2 handed baseball chop and it landed on a prone area of TV’s knee where the padding does not provide protection.
All that said, the karate stick chop is merely window dressing.
It’s the croutons in the overall game salad, which is simple to breakdown.
Buffalo played fantastic again in the 1st.
They had a major let down in the 2nd, again, and especially after the TV injury.
They did respond near the end of the period with a flawless shot by Pominville after a nice detonation of the Boston D attempting to hip check him (the play should be a video clinic of how to respond to an attempted hip check), but that was momentary.
In the 3rd, Boston again applied the pressure which, much like the last 2 second periods, was aided by sloppy D zone Buffalo play where they often handled the puck like a hand grenade.
Boston took full advantage, and completely deserved the win.
Buffalo absolutely assisted them in every way possible for the win.
In particular it was hard to tell if Tim Connolly was wearing a Sabres or Bruins sweater in the 3rd.
He was weak on the puck, and turned it over multiple times which lead to the tying goal, and you can add young Tyler Ennis with his bad play read pass which lead to the deciding goal.
The 4th Boston goal should not have been allowed as David Krejci made a hand pass in the Buffalo zone to Satan who then fed the puck to Chara whose shot tied the game. Yes it was hard to see, but it was definitely a hand pass.
Let’s get to the bottom line.
This series is knotted at 1-1 and looks to be a barn-burner, as most had expected.
The loss of Vanek is large, but can be overcome (calling Nathan Gerbe? no, calling Mark Mancari is more like it for this series). It would certainly help if Hecht was coming back, but it’s high time for the Buffalo vets to stand up and shout.
Expect Miller to be much better in game 3 along with the Buffalo D, but will the forwards man up and sink their teeth into the Boston D and Rask.
That is what will decide the next 2 in beantown.
You got your chowdah ready?
On the officiating, yes, as is customary in the NHL for the past 2 seasons since they started letting some penalties go again, it has been at best inconsistent, and at worst horrible, but both teams already understand something that the fans have yet to grasp.
The officials are going to stink unless they call every single penalty to the letter of the rules, and since that is not going to happen, leaving things to their judgement is a recipe for mental breakdowns, so to the fans, if you want your team to win this series, they are going to have to be better than the opposing team, and most likely the officials too.
Don’t cry about it, just hope whoever you are rooting for embraces that fact the most because that is the team that will win this series.
About the Author
Written by William Brouillette