It's been a tale of two teams in Buffalo.
No, I am not talking about the Bills and Sabres. I am talking about just the Sabres—the good Sabres, and the bad Sabres.
The good Sabres were a very good team. They made very few mistakes, while putting forth a constant effort through sixty minutes. They finished their checks, they scored, and they played defense. On top of that, their goaltending was magnificent.
The bad Sabres are a completely different story.
“The effort is there,” goalie Ryan Miller said.
He's right. The effort is still there. The only glaring difference between the good Sabres and the bad Sabres are the mistakes that the team makes now compared to those that they didn't make a month ago.
And yes, the effort is still there, but it's how they are putting forth the effort—one period at a time. Since the start of the season, the Sabres have yet to play a full 60 minutes.
Tonight, the Sabres meet their old friend Marty Biron in a match against a team that Ryan Miller has faired well against throughout his career—the Philadelphia Flyers. Miller is 5-0-1 with a 2.60 GAA against Philly. This bodes well for a goaltender who has gone 1-3-1 in his past five games, and has seen his GAA rise from 1.62 to 2.61.
Hopefully, with the help of the surging Thomas Vanek and the resurgent Jason Pominville (ten points in his last eight games, with a four-game goal streak), the Sabres can be put back onto the right track. It would help if Derek Roy could play up to the potential expected of him this year.
Also, Mark Mancari has been called up from the Sabres' AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. Mancari is currently second in the AHL in points (25) in 14 games. Mancari was named AHL Player of the Month for October.
Unfortunately, I don't think the Sabres are looking for Mancari's offense at this point. The Sabres already have plenty of that—but a little more defense would help this team out a lot.