Sabres-Predators: Buffalo's Sports Teams Are a Lot Closer Than You Think

Matt SchaeferCorrespondent IDecember 1, 2008

The Buffalo Bills really put on a stinker yesterday afternoon.

So how were the Sabres going to improve the moods of the Buffalo sports fan?  Well, they didn’t, and they played just like their football counterpart.

They lost in very similar ways. No execution of plays, making dumb mistakes, and not being able to put any points on the board despite terrific play from the defense—well, the goalie, in the Sabres’ case.

These games also included former players returning home. While former Bills Takeo Spikes and Nate Clements played decently in Sunday’s game, in tonight’s game former Sabres J.P. Dumont returned home and left with a couple points and a win for his team.

The Sabres came out of the gate with nothing, and that continued throughout the entire game. The Sabres made another backup goalie look like a NHL All-Star.

Pekka Rinne was only playing in his ninth career NHL game—and yet he looked incredible, turning aside all of the 30 Sabres shots.

While 30 shots might sound good on the box score, very few of these shots were scoring chances.

The best play came in the third period by four guys you never would’ve thought of. Paul Gaustad centered a line with wingers Adam Mair and Dan Paille that played their hearts out.

Coming into the third period, the line didn’t play much.  But with the game in doubt, Lindy Ruff didn’t send out his top lines—he sent out his most effective line of the night in Gaustad’s.

Defenseman Nathan Paetsch also played very hard. What really stuck out was the two times he hustled down the ice to touch the puck for icing when the game was, honestly, out of reach at 2-0 with 30 seconds left.

This team is suffering exactly what the Bills are going through now (minus the horrific coaching). They each have a key piece—running back Marshawn Lynch and Ryan Miller—but yet they don’t have consistency from everyone else playing in the game.

Both teams are also suffering some key injuries also, but both are on their way to getting healthy.

These two Buffalo teams might be a whole lot closer to each other than people think. Both have questionable front offices, bad owners, and lack playmakers.

If you are a Sabres fan, you might just want to give up your hopes for the playoffs now. Remember the Bills jumping out to a 5-1 start, and then falling to 6-6? The team built up exceptions and then came back down to earth, leaving a sour taste in the fans mouth.

The Sabres started off the year on fire themselves, starting off as one of the best teams in the entire league. Now the Sabres find themselves in ninth place in the Eastern conference, on the outside looking in.

Could it already be the time to be thinking about next year in Buffalo?

Random final thoughts on the game

Boy, could the Sabres have used a guy like Max Afinogenov and his abilities to create a few plays, and maybe put a goal on the scoreboard. While he is still on the Sabres payroll, they should at least use him.

What is with the fans hating on Kotalik? Did he play sharp? No, but it is his first game back from injury. Of course the guy is not going to play great. Sorry—he is not Tim Connolly who is so used to coming off of injuries that he plays well no matter what.

Ryan Miller is back! After fans have called him Mr. Softie, the Sabres' netminder played very sharply and no way was his play the cause for the loss tonight. Too bad he didn’t have a team in front of him.