La-Lame: Sabres' Backup Woes Continue in Loss to Wild

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La-Lame: Sabres' Backup Woes Continue in Loss to Wild
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

If the Buffalo Sabres did not have any worries about not trading for a capable backup goalie on the March 3 trade deadline, they do now.

Patrick Lalime continued his miserable two-year stretch with the Sabres on Friday night, allowing three goals on 33 shots in a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Lalime let in two horrible first-period goals which took the Sabres out of the game early—something that generally does not happen when Ryan Miller is in net.

With the Sabres trailing 1-0, Lalime gave the puck away behind his goal to Minnesota forward Guillaume Latendresse, who buried it into an open net.

The Sabres’ faithful made sure Lalime knew they were getting tired of his act. Relentless booing after the second goal, followed by sarcastic cheers every time Lalime made a save thereafter, certainly got the point across to the struggling goaltender.

“It felt like I was on the road,” Lalime told the Associated Press after the game. “You just want to shake it off.”

After two goals from Thomas Vanek, Buffalo’s third-period comeback fell short, and the Sabres lost for the first time in four games.

Lalime is 3-5-2 this season with a .897 save percentage and a GAA over three. His last win came back on December 29 in a relief effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

But it is last season’s performance that turned many fans off of Lalime. The 11-year veteran went 5-13-3 in the 2008-09 season, with a .900 save percentage and a 3.10 GAA.

When Miller was hurt mid-February in a game against the New York Rangers, Lalime was given the opportunity to take the reins and help the Sabres make the playoffs—and he couldn’t have performed worse.

During his one-month stint as Buffalo’s starting goalie, Lalime went 3-6-2 and let up four or more goals four different times. When the Sabres missed the playoffs by three points, a lot of fingers were pointed Lalime’s way.

This season has been no different for Buffalo’s backup. Lalime’s bad rebounds, mental errors, and overall shaky play has left the Sabres with one option in net—luckily, that option is Miller.

The Sabres’ tough and condensed schedule probably means that Lalime may grab one or two more starts this season—just don’t expect those starts to be against the Ottawa Senators.

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