Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)
From all appearances, my playoff beard is not long for this world.
But appearances can be deceiving…
We missed the first period of the game last night, but from the report my brother-in-law gave, the Sabres played very well, and they did finish period one with a 2-1 lead. I heard a brief interview with Jochen Hecht, and he said they “felt pretty good about the way they were skating out there.” So, the Sabres were poised to tie up the series after a surprising loss in Game 1.
Until special teams came into play.
Tied 2-2 late in the second period, the Sabres were on the receiving end of two questionable calls, which put them in a precarious 5 on 3 situation. Ottawa has been lethal on the power play, and the Sabres anemic penalty killing is just no match. So, the Sens took a 3-2 lead into the third period. (At least they didn’t get two PP goals!)
Fast forward to the last minute of play in the third period. Score is still 3-2 Ottawa. You figure for at least the last 10 minutes they were playing to preserve the lead. The Sabres have this sense though of when it’s “time to turn it on”, and as they did against the Rangers, they scored with less than 10 seconds to go to tie the game. This time, it was 5.7 seconds I believe. Daniel Briere tossed one into a wide open net. Lucky bounce. Good timing. Whatever it was, we were headed to oooooovertime.
First overtime was (from my viewpoint) dominated by the Senators. I don’t have an internet connection here, so I can’t look up the stats, but it just felt like they were getting 2 or 3 shots or at least opportunities to our one. Don’t get me wrong, the Sabres did have some great chances. Emery made some good saves, to be sure, and their defense blocked about fifty-seven shots I think. But, Milsy made some great saves, and we went to a second overtime.
Shortly into 2OT, the puck bounced the wrong way and the Senators won. Now they lead the series two games to none, and the Sabres are in quite a hole. The win was also the first time this season – in 47 tries – that the Sabres have had a two-goal lead… and lost. So now, the Sabres are 46-0-1 when they get a 2-goal lead. Still not too shabby…
But it’s 2-0. Headed back to Ottawa. The Sabres do appear to be in dire straits.
But maybe that’s how they like it.
All year long the Sabres have been a comeback team. Some say that is to their detrement. They wait too long to “turn it on”, instead of playing a complete game. And indeed, playing that way from the start – a complete game – would be preferred. But maybe they just want to have the ultimate comeback. To give the Sens not only 2-game lead, but also super home-ice advantage. Three of the possible five remaining games will be played in Ottawa. The Sabres will have to win at least twice on their ice to take the series.
Again, maybe that’s just where they need to be.
Time to turn it on boys. I kinda like not shaving. So, let’s see a desperation game on Monday, like it’s the last minute of play.
Do it for the playoff beards.