Sabres Fall to Ottawa 6-3
1) A position in ice hockey that attempts to prevent the puck from entering the goal.
2) A player who gives his team a chance to win.
The Sabres battled back several times from a goal down and dropped a dismal third period to the Ottawa Senators for a final score of 6-3 at Scotiabank Place. Buffalo had some bad plays in their own end, and some turnovers, but the excellent play of Patrick Lalime subsided into the normal, run-of-the-mill washed up goalie Patrick Lalime that we all know and dislike. He had some good saves, too, mind you, but none of the borderline tough plays were made by Lalime, resulting in a loss.
After a convincing first period between the two teams, the score was 1-1. The first goal was scored by Daniel Alfredsson on the power play. He ripped one upstairs while he was walking in and the puck found its way over the shoulder of Lalime. Buffalo answered with a power play tally of their own when Drew Stafford wristed one past Elliott, who was slow to get over.
The Sabres came out F-L-A-T in the second. Midway through the period, Chris Kelly received a pass at the point he slapped past Lalime. This was one of Lalime's soft goals in my opinion. No screen, no one anywhere near the shooting lane, clear view of the shooter and all, and Lalime still couldn't get the glove on it.
Thomas Vanek responded by grabbing a puck in the slot, spinning around, and wristing one past Elliott. Ottawa got one right back when Nick Foligno took advantage of a poor positioning choice by Lalime, who left a gaping five hole for a tap-in.
Should Foligno have been picked up? Yes. Should Lalime have had the paddle down? Absolutely.
Jochen Hecht scored an ugly power play wrap-around goal off the butt of Elliott's stick to tie the game at 3-3. Chris Campoli, fresh from the Islanders, shot one from halfway up the boards, through a screen, and into the net. Ottawa would not let up.
A 2-on-1 with five minutes left in the game resulted in another Senator goal. Ryan Shannon passed around an out-stretched pass-blocking Toni Lydman's skates for a Nick Foligno tap-in. Lydman went down too early; Lalime bit on a faked shot and committed, making it easy for Foligno to finish the six-footer.
A Rivet flip-dump out of the zone would put the icing on the cake for the Senators. A long pass to Alfredsson and a 30-foot wrister looked like it handcuffed Lalime. He once again had full view of the shooter with no obstruction or misdirection and couldn't get anything on it. It's shots like that which could be steered away for the team to get a chance to win.
Now, let me reinforce that Lalime had his good moments, too, and it's not like the whole game is on him. There were a few too many defensive miscues and botched plays.
However, like many Buffalo fans, I feel like Ryan Miller could have stolen this one for the Sabres. Though the stats are much the same for Tellqvist, he somehow managed to compile a much better record of 7-5-1 with what many consider a lesser team in front of him. I look forward to his debut this week, and hope to see a spark in his play that gives Buffalo a chance to win.