Game 4: "Sloppy"
There have been better performances than the Sabres' effort in a 4-3 loss on Thursday to Calgary. Fortunately for them, Erik Johnson's seen it all before.
BUFFALO — There’s a version of Buffalo Sabres hockey to be played this season, and ideally many times over, that leads to wins and vaulting up the standings. Thursday night’s effort against the Calgary Flames was decidedly not it.
The Sabres dropped a 4-3 decision in a game that was loose, speedy, physical, and erratic on both ends of the ice for both teams. In an 82-game season, these games happen and they’re frustrating, but when it occurs in Game 4 of a season that has as much hope and hype attached to it as this Sabres season does, it leads to surliness in the fan base.
To be fair, losses do that no matter what whether a team is great or awful, but still. There’s a kind of hockey that’s been expected of this group and it hasn’t happened with regularity.
“We created our own mess tonight,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “We were sloppy.”
Granato elaborated on that point quite a bit but it wasn’t really necessary. A one-word descriptor was all this game needed. There were other assessments that hit it on the nose, however.
“We’re going to be able to score goals like that most of the year, but until we have a commitment to team defense, we won’t accomplish much,” Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson said.
Johnson might be one of the newest guys in town, but he was brought in to be a leader for guys on the blue line and in turn the rest of the room. Breaking down the rest of the game with numbers or video/GIFs will drill home how messy it was, but even though the time for learning is over for the Sabres and the time for applying what’s been learned consistently is at hand, sometimes it takes the view of a veteran who’s seen it all to make it make sense.
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