Game 73: Eye Test vs. Nerd Test
Without Tage Thompson, the Sabres dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Canadiens. It's time to dig into
BUFFALO — Let’s be frank for a moment: Shootout games are total ass no matter which way the decision goes.
Shootouts are essentially an occasionally showy coin flip means to give one team an extra point in the standings. The league has done everything but eliminate them completely to prevent them from having a total effect on the standings. They stink.
The 65 minutes prior to them, however, are the actually telling part of the game and for the Sabres, the eye test says it was a game they should’ve won. They had a 3-2 third period lead that went away on Brendan Gallagher’s 200th career goal, they took a questionable penalty in overtime and had one of their best penalty kills of the season nullifying it, even producing a scoring chance once it ended.
The teams traded goals, Eric Comrie made some sensational saves (with some iffy goals allowed), Riley Stillman scored his first goal since April of last year and first as a Sabre, and rookie Lukáš Rousek had two points including his first NHL goal. There were reasons to have smiles after the game, except for that whole winning the game thing.
“We battle hard every single night,” Comrie said. “I respect the hell out of these guys. They work hard every single night. They truly give it their all. I love playing for these guys. It’s unfortunate. That’s a tough one to swallow tonight. That’s a really tough pill to swallow.”
There was some footlocker slamming and equipment being roughly deposited on their shelves in some stalls postgame, which is to be expected when the margin for error is razor thin with so few games remaining. But what actually worked well and what did not? It’s time to judge the eye test against the nerd test when we take a look at how our eyes may or may not be fooled by the results on paper.
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