The Sabres are no longer stamepding over the competition as they did on their way to the Northeast Division title. Since the Boston series opened, Buffalo has been surprisingly underwhelming. I don’t think it’s burnout, and I don’t think it’s a lack of intensity. Many players for Boston are simply coming out of the woodwork after staying invisible for much of the regular season.
This causes me some concern for the Sabres organization, becuase that element of surprise may prove to be too much if they can’t get their offensive machine going — particuarly on the power play (0-for-12).Earlier I had predicted
that the Sabres would emerge victorious in this series, but that came with a caveat: they would win if
they had the scoring talents of Vanek. Without him, they are simply an average team playing in front of a great goalie. And in the playoffs, a goalie may be forced to carry the load, but at the end of the night, somebody’s got to bury the buscuit.
Vanek is going to be a game-time decision for Game 4 tonight. I bet head coach Lindy Ruff is starting to sweat. With his team already behind Boston, he can’t afford to not dress Vanek. At the same time, the Sabres need to stand up to Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who’s become something of a small-time villain in this series.
Something’s got to give soon. Either Buffalo pulls even and makes this a three-game series, or they allow Tuuka Rask and the rest of the overachieving Bruins to escape with a 3-to-1 series lead.