I’ve been having issues with actually being able to watch the Sabres games. The problem lies in a tangled web having to do with Versus, MSG, and DISH network. Put simply on DISH any relevant network is being blacked out due to restrictions and failed negotiations. Since this problem doesn’t exist with cable I’ve been able to watch the games out at Uncle Joe’s. The weekday games are especially easy since it’s not a very long drive from the brewery.
The Isles have been surprising. I didn’t expect the Sabres to simply roll over them, the Isles have a good netminder back between the pipes, and have several players (a couple of them former Sabres) who can turn a busted play around in an instant. Still, I didn’t expect to see the Isles come out and play the gutsy and determined hockey that they’ve been playing. They are countering the Sabres speedy style of play, forcing turn overs in the neutral zone, and forcing all the traffic to the outside. One of the weaknesses of the Sabres this season is the lack of the big body to put in front of the goaltender, especially on the power play. The Isles are keeping the crease clear which is allowing Dipietro to see every shot coming his way.
Game 3 the Sabres got their wind back, you could tell they were hungry for that wind. They might have underestimated the Isles in game 2, but that didn’t show in this one. They controlled most of the play – especially in the third period when they held the Isles to only 2 shots on goal. They’re a group of players who have come too far since the lock out to see an early exit from the playoffs. I think the Isles win reminded them that they need to play with determination and intensity every second of every game. In the Stanley Cup playoffs there is no such thing as the sure thing. The cup is up for grabs – the team that is willing to put it all out on the line is the one that will walk away with it.