Friday, October 8, 2010

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

One game down, eighty-one to go in the regular season. Though the 2-1 final score seems to indicate a close game, the Senators were outplayed for a large part of it, including most of the second period--oddly, the only period in which they picked up a goal.

If Ryan Miller weren't Superman, we might have a different game recap here. In the span of the first few minutes, Ottawa forwards were buzzing around the Buffalo end while the Sabres defensemen looked stymied. Crisp passes and great scoring chances were there, but Miller shut down each and every one, and the Sabres never looked back from then on. They dominated most of the game except for the last bit of the 3rd period, in which the Sens had two powerplays and a pulled goalie but couldn't score the equalizer--this despite a great chance by Alfredsson at the side of the net and another where Leopold got a stick on the puck before Regin could.

The story of the game for the Sens though, of course, has got to be Leclaire's game. As a self-admitted Leclaire apologist, I was beyond happy for Snoopy, who seemed to be getting nothing but flak last year (most of which was rightly deserved, mind you). He made a few great saves, including a couple where Connolly was essentially pushing Leclaire out of his crease. As the always astute Ryan Classic (editor at Silver Seven Sens) pointed out on Twitter:

"Pascal Leclaire is the pitcher who gets no run support, no matter how well or poorly he plays."

And really, if you think about it, there's a lot of truth to that analogy. The offense rarely shows up when he's lights-out, and when he flops completely, there's not much the offense can do to salvage the situation. A strong defensive team seems like the best place for Leclaire, but... uh, have you seen our defense? Then again, having a point-per-game player in Jason Spezza sitting out tonight's game didn't help the offensive production, either.

But for all the above, there's one really important thing to remember: it's only one game. There's no way we can safely assume that this one game is a microcosm of our season. Otherwise, Chris Kelly would be an 82-goal scorer and Daniel Alfredsson would be held scoreless all year long. Likely? No. So there's no point getting irrationally upset or torn up about tonight's loss.

If we lose to Toronto tomorrow night, though? Whole other issue.

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