Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Hello, and welcome once again into the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box at First Niagara Center. Well...since I last joined you on the Sabres Radio Network, Lindy Ruff was still the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres. The almost unimaginable happened one day later, and Ruff was removed from his position, with Ron Rolston taking over on an interim basis. Rolston will be behind the bench in front of the home town crowd for the first time tonight, as the blue and gold welcome the New York Islanders into town.
Buffalo dropped a 3-1 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Rolston's debut two days ago. We will see if the attitiude and results change at all for a team that seemed to be simply going through the motions on the ice. Entering play tonight, the Sabres are officially last in the Eastern Conference.
Be sure to comment throughout the night in the thread below. I will add my two cents throughout the night as well. For more, give me a follow on Twitter: @PatWGR. Also, be sure to follow Brian Koziol: @BrianWGR. Finally, for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer, click here.
17:47 - There have been a couple of chances each way early on. An Isles shot in the opening minute found its way off of the post behind Ryan Miller. The other came for the blue and gold with a shot right off of the mask of Evgeni Nabakov.
14:33 - Buffalo goes on the man advantage for the first time tonight thanks to a Mark Streit interference minor. The Isles' captain clearly impeded the progress of Steve Ott to necessitate the call.
12:32 - ...and the power play is over with no real good scoring chance to speak of for the blue and gold. Christian Ehrhoff had a decent look at the net, but the shot lane closed quickly to nullify any opportunity he had. Score is still 0-0, with the shots 3-2, Buffalo.
9:41 - Miller took a shot square off of the mask just a few moments ago, and the puck seemed to stun him. I will keep an eye on that, as the netminder has had issues in the past with shots up high.
7:08 - Another less than stellar PP for the Sabres. Ehrhoff had a good chance or two, one that even caught Nabakov looking behind, but still no scoring.
End of Period
BUF - 0, NYI - 0
Shots On Goal
BUF - 9, NYI - 13
17:33 - The second period is not going very well for the blue and gold right now. Shots are 3-0, New York and all of the chances have come in the Buffalo end. Had it not been for a shot over the net, it would be 1-0 Isles.
16:31 - Patrick Kaleta goes straight to the Sabres' locker room after what appeared to be a missed check. The forward was in some discomfort on the ice, and headed straight for the tunnel, followed by trainer Tim Macre.
11:40 - INJURY UPDATE: Alexander Sulzer suffered a lower body injury in the first period, and we were just told by the Sabres that he will NOT return to the game.
7:44 - Some improved play by the blue and gold after a sluggish couple of minutes, but now it seems like no one wants to shoot the puck. The team spent about thirty seconds passing the puck around the perimeter with no one wanting to let 'er rip.
5:43 - Much better power play, but the same results for Buffalo. The team had several quality scoring opportunities, but this time it was Nabakov who had to make a couple of stops. New York was penalized for a too many men on the ice bench minor, to result in the chance.
3:54 - Sabres use their one timeout of the night here on the power play. Interesting strategy by head coach Ron Rolston. Not sure I would have used it now, but what the heck. If it gives the top unit an extra rest, it could pay off.
2:09 - ISLANDERS GOAL. Matt Moulson is able to slip a pass across the ice to Mark Streit, who buries the chance. Horrible defensive coverage by Buffalo allowed the captain to skate uncontested and slip the puck in the net easily. 1-0 NYI.
1:04 - ISLANDERS GOAL. Christian Ehrhoff turns the puck over and gives Michael Grabner a breakaway chance. The defenseman is not able to catch up, and the New York forward is able to beat Ryan Miller to up the team's lead to two. 2-0 NYI.
0:00 - WOOF. How quickly things can change in moments. The Sabres are booed off of the ice by the fans.
End of Period
NYI - 2, BUF - 0
NYI: 17:51 - Mark Streit (4). (Matt Moulson, Marty Reasoner). 18:56 - Michael Grabner (7). (unassisted).
Shots On Goal
BUF - 13 (22), NYI - 11 (24)
16:56 - The Sabres are having a terrible time trying to get the puck out of their zone, and into the offensive end. They keep getting bottled up in the neutral zone and turning the puck over.
15:36 - ISLANDERS GOAL. John Tavares ups the lead by picking the corner on Miller and wristing the shot home. A brutal game is getting even worse for the blue and gold. 3-0 NYI.
11:38 - There is just nothing good to glean from the Sabres' play right now. No real puck possession, no real flow to their play. Just not good.
6:52 - As every second rolls off of the clock, more and more fans are leaving the seating bowl and not coming back. I do not blame them one bit. If I spent my money in this product, I would have a hard time sitting through this. Buffalo is playing like the last place team in the Eastern Conference.
2:25 - Another power play, same results. The Sabres do have some chances, but you know the rest of the story...
:58.0 - ISLANDERS GOAL. Just the capper to an already stellar night for the blue and gold as Colin McDonald scores on the power play. Cody Hodgson was in the box. 4-0 NYI.
End of Game
New York Islanders - 4, Buffalo - 0
NYI: 4:24 - John Tavares (12). (Matt Moulson, Brad Boyes). 19:02 - Colin McDonald (3) PPG. (Casey Cizikas, Mark Streit)/
Shots On Goal
BUF - 13 (35), NYI - 8 (32)
This Sabres team is just plain bad. No other way to put it. They are playing like not only the worst team in the East, but quite possibly the worst team overall in the NHL. They are not giving the fans much to cheer about. If you are going to lose, at least make it look like you are giving your all. Right now, it seems like the Sabres are just going through the motions for most of the game. I bet fans would like to think it will get better sooner rather than later, but I honestly think it is going to get worse before it gets better. I am not seeing anything to tell me that this team has bottomed out.