Game 51: An Unbalancing Act
The bookend of the Sabres two games in two weeks part of the schedule shows the necessity for rhythm at a tricky part of the season.
BUFFALO — Summing up a game in which your team lost 7-2 at home after at one point holding a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes could be difficult. Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo was able to do it rather perfectly.
“They came out and just punched us in the face,” Okposo said. “They just played better than us.”
Hard to argue the point when an early lead was erased in 20 seconds early in the second period and became a two-goal deficit in the span of 5:22. After more than a week between games, the previous being a 6-1 pasting by the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 1, the extended layoff provided enough rust to ensure a brusque wakeup call.
“We played a team that had great jump in their third game, and they had a jump on us,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “We just had nine days away and it's challenging. That's a tough, tough thing and it looked like that. You can be overcritical on this, that and the other, but there was an imbalance there, and we could not offset it with doing the right thing.”
Fans hate excuses as much as they hate poor performances and accepting either of those things is just not going to happen. But facts aren’t excuses as much as they are uncomfortable truths and that the Sabres got humbled by an elite team before going on break and got slugged upon return could virtually be expected for a group that’s figuring things out as they go.
That doesn't provide any comfort when thinking of the short-term possibilities that lay ahead for the Sabres, but it’s not a reason to freak out about things either.
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