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Bulldog's Blog

BULLDOG: Pessimism for Sabres' fans out of place

Now is no time to panic.  Games are tight.  A bounce here or a bounce there can be the difference between a win and a loss.  We know the drill, right?  One goal games and the seeds don't matter once they start playing.  Agreed.

Here is something else to consider.  The Flyers are really good.  Through three games I want to say that I vastly underestimated their defensive capabilities, especially without all time cross-checker and intimidator in chief Chris Pronger.  The Sabres have managed just about two ten-minute stretches of good offensive play in the series so far.  The rest of series has been Philly forechecking the Sabres relentlessly and special teams.

Now none of that means that the series is over.  Why?  Go back to the top of the page.  As dominant as I feel the Flyers have been through these three games we are still talking about one goal games, minus an empty netter at the end of Game Three.  Their goaltending can be had.  Getting the decent looks at their net is the problem.  Sure the Sabres piled up shots in Monday's loss.  How many good/great saves did Boucher have to make?  Do you want to count Ennis hitting him in the mask during the 3rd period power play?

So what now?  A critical Game Four awaits Wednesday night in Buffalo.  How do the Sabres get back to even?  Well I could give you a bunch of work harder, be more desperate type stuff here, and maybe that is the ticket.  Avoid the mistakes that have left Flyers along in front of Miller the last two games.  That would be great.  I don't know how likely it is, but it would be great.

How about this.  Miller has to be great.  That doesn't mean he has to stop tic-tac-toe lay-ups like the Game Three winner.  But it might mean not letting shots get through him, even if they do go off Mike Weber's stick. 

Something else worth noting is that the Sabres power play has had 3rd period opportunities to tie the last two games.  In the case of Game Three, it was an extended 5-on-3.  The power play is 3-for-15 in the series.  20-percent is a respectable looking number but in a series where 5-on-5 chances have been limited for Buffalo, it is going to have come through in moments like Monday's 3rd period.

So to review, I am going to the goalie plays out of his skull/power play gets hot card.  Those are often the two key ingredients in series that end with the underdog on top.

Through these three games, if I've learned anything, it's that if Buffalo wins it will indeed be an upset.   

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