Sabres Snatch Success in Shootout
A tale of two games in one. One in which the Habs dominated and the other where the team sat back and allowed the Sabres not only back in the game but lead to the eventual loss in a shootout.
In the first two periods the Habs dominated the Sabres and the player of the game was none other than Erik Cole. He played a whale of a game in regulation, finishing checks, going to the net and scoring a rare power play goal. The Sabres had no answer to the line of Cole, Pacioretty and Desharnais in regularion. They were buzzing the net and creating chances. Spacek also played a heck of a game until he got injured in the middle of the game. Engqvist also played decently until he got injured by yet another knee on knee collision.
When the Sabres went into the dressing room for the second intermission, they were behind by two goals and seemed to be going nowhere fast. To start the period, the Habs were down by Spacek and Engqvist, and the Sabres came out like a team possessed. They scored in the first minute of play and continued to bring the play to the Habs. The Habs on the other hand seemed to come out for the third period in a prevent defense mood, unlike the first two period where they carried the play to the Sabres. They just could not find their momentum.
The overtime period featured two penalties where neither team could score on teh ensuing four on three. The Habs penalty was on Erik Cole when he bumped into Enroth and the sabres goalie went down like he was on fire (drop and roll) For those who ask - yes it was a penalty no doubt about it regardless of the embellishment. And the aforementioned Erik Cole firmly went into Jacques Martin's doghouse and was not seen again.
The game went into a shootout and the three players chosen by Jacques Martin were Plekanec, Pacioretty, and Gionta. While the two chosen by Lindy Ruff were Vanek and Boyes. Carey Price once again did not manage to stop a shot in the shootout while only Pacioretty managed to get one by Enroth.
The reason for choosing a slumping Gionta over a surging Cole must have been because of the penalty incurred in overtime. Was this loss to blame on Coaching decision - perhaps but there is a fundamental lack of killer instinct on this team. Yes there are major injuries but the Habs are not the only ones in this boat - just ask the Penguins.