Tough loss, good game

Hard to feel anything but cheated by last night’s result. For roughly 57 minutes, the Canadiens played shutdown hockey, limiting the Sabres to a handful of quality scoring chances.

Then Lindy Ruff, one of the best coaches in the game, pulled his goalie, giving Buffalo a 6-on-4 for two minutes. They scored. He pulled Miller again. They scored again.

Losing a game like that in a shootout is tough to swallow, but it’s nice to see the team respond to two dismal losses to Ottawa and Toronto with a generally strong performance. Now if Jacques could just teach them how to protect a two-goal lead with three minutes remaining in a game, we might have something here. Impossible to blame Price for this loss either, as much as some Halak fanatics may try.

Message to Mike Cammalleri: I know it was your first game back, but it wouldn’t have killed you to play even average defense in the final minute of the game. Go back and watch the replay of that last agonizing minute before the Sabres tie it up. Cammalleri has possession of the puck behind the net and the chance to make a solid zone clearance, which might have sealed the win for us. Instead, he lazily flips a blind backhand pass up the boards … to where three Sabre players are waiting. You’ll never hear the media talk about it, because Mike is firmly established as a good guy in everyone’s minds, and only Russian-speaking players are castigated for every defensive lapse, but it was a costly error that allowed the Sabres to keep the play alive in our zone long enough to score the tying goal. But no, all we hear about today is how Cammalleri’s return apparently sparked Andrei Kostitsyn, despite the fact that Cammalleri didn’t assist on either of AK’s goals and was an offensive non-factor the entire game.

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