Sabres Let Philly Off the Hook

It’s been said that a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey, and Sabres fans have seen what that can turn into.

Well, how about a 3-0 lead? It wouldn’t be possible to be up by three goals on home ice and lose, right? Wednesday night, Philadelphia finished off a comeback with a 5-4 win in overtime, with a bit of help from Marc-Andre Gragnani.

I had tickets for the game, but chose not to go. I sold them to someone else and as the game got going, I regretted not being there.

The first period was one of the most exciting 20 minutes this season for the Sabres. Ville Leino scored after a nice set up, Corey Tropp landed some hard punches in his first NHL fight, and the Sabres beat Bryzgalov three times.

Other than a late goal by Philadelphia, the first period couldn’t get much better. Everything changed early in the third period, when Nathan Gerbe took a heavy hit face-first into the boards. Marc-Andre Bourdon received a penalty for boarding and then took on Matt Ellis in a fight.

Now, someone explain to me how the Sabres didn’t end up with a power play after the boarding call. I’m aware that Ellis received a two minute instigator, but what do you expect him to do? Ellis just watched his teammate take a dirty hit into the boards and he went after Bourdon. Because of that he got the extra two minute penalty?!

What Ellis did was stand up for a teammate and I don’t see anything wrong with that. If Buffalo were to get a power play out of that, the team would have had to stand there and do nothing. When Jordin Tootoo collided with Ryan Miller, the Sabres goaltender didn’t receive any penalty for the punches he threw, so why should Ellis get a two minute instigator for this?

The NHL is inconsistent with these sort of things. Ville Leino has a hearing today for his hit on Matt Read, which is understandable, but Bourdon does not have a hearing.

Everything went downhill after that hit.

The Flyers scored four times to go up 4-3, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer Lindy Ruff will have his job.

The Sabres had a 3-0 lead on home ice, and couldn’t finish the job. There was no killer instinct. That cannot happen.

Still, Stafford managed to tie the game, breaking a 13 game goal drought.

The Sabres have so many players injured that they just need to get wins and as many points as possible right now. Luckily they earned a point out of last night’s game.

They host Florida on Friday and the Rangers on Saturday.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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