Wednesday night the Buffalo Sabres provided the opposition for the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena. It’s just too bad that the Thrashers couldn’t return the favor. The beat-down wasn’t even as close as the 4-1 score would indicate as the Sabres simply outplayed the home team all night long.
It was bad…brutally bad.
If you were fortunate enough to miss the Sabre-slapping in Thrasherville, really all you need to know is this: When Cody McCormick scored 2:34 into the second period, the Sabres had more goals scored than the Thrashers had shots on goal. Buffalo led 3-0 and were out-shooting the Thrashers 14-2 at that point.
On that goal, Chris Mason had bobbled a save, Ron Hainsey tipped the puck back into the crease where McCormick tapped it home.
Overall, the Sabres took 42 shots on goal to the Thrashers 18. Atlanta could muster but 2 SOG on Ryan Miller’s goal in the opening 20 minutes.
“We didn’t do anything to make [Miller] work,” Mason said. “We didn’t test him”.
Looking for excuses for this debacle? Well, don’t look to head coach Craig Ramsay as he’s offering up none. “Attention to detail was almost nonexistent,” he said after the game. “We had a couple of days off, we had two good practices and there’s no reason for them not to come and be able to play”.
During the course of an 82-game season, teams are going to drop a steamer on the ice like this one occasionally. It is what it is. But what’s more alarming to me is this continues a season-long stream of games in which the Thrashers defense allowed an unacceptable amount of shots to get through on goal. Last night it was 41…Saturday it was 39 in San Jose…41 the night before during 65 minutes of play in Anaheim.
In fact, not once in the six games have they allowed below 30 SOG. The 31 allowed to Washington on opening night is the “high mark” of the season so far. And while many questions about this team are still yet to be answered, one thing we all know for sure is that no team is going to play past game number 82 if they allow 37.3 shots per game to be taken on their net.
37.3 SA/G… I don’t care if it’s only six games into the season, that’s shocking even by Thrashers standards.
OK well, it’s over and done with. If you wish to analyze or break down last night’s craptacular extravaganza in any more detail…be my guest. I’d rather just put in behind us and look forward to Friday night’s engagement with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’ll be the first time in this young season that the Thrashers will have a chance to avenge a previous loss.
The second time will be next Friday when the Buffalo Sabres return to the scene of the crime…the brutally bad beat-down at Blueland.