CHICAGO -- Here's what's cluttering my mind after the Sabres' 4-3 loss to the Blackhawks Saturday night in the United Center. When you have 15 minutes to write a game story, like you do when you're not in the Eastern Time Zone, lots of stuff comes into your head after the fact.
Home vs. road: How in the world can this team be so good in Ottawa and again tonight and so patently cruddy in HSBC Arena? Is it the food and water? The stupid blooper reels on the HD board? Doug Allen's pointing? Makes no sense.
"At home, we really just got away from our game," said Lindy Ruff. "We just played a smart efficient game here. We came out smart, our puck movement was smart. When we hang on too long, we get too much one-on-one. We dominated zone time. At home, you just have the tendency to try to make
a little fancier play."
Marian Hossa: He wears No. 81. He's good. He's sneaky. The Sabres might want to pay attention to him. Two games in a row, he snuck off the bench behind the Buffalo defense and scored on a breakaway via a home run pass. Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold lost him tonight.
"A mistake on our part in the read by the two defensemen to make sure they kept him in front of us," Ruff said. "Maybe they took for granted for just a second how fast he is."
"You can't let that happen," admitted Myers. "Especially with a guy like that, he's going to finish."
On the good side: Steve Montador was plus-2 and was dynamite. I wanted to see much more of him than just 14+ minutes. Really liked Paul Gaustad, Nathan Gerbe and Cody McCormick.
On the bad side: Still nothing from Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly, who at least was better than Friday night. No goals yet from Tyler Ennis as well. Rob Niedermayer went 3-9 in the faceoff circle and continues to add nothing. The Sabres were just 21-40 on draws (Connolly was 1-8). The Hawks' key guys did damage, with Patrick Sharp scoring twice for the second straight night. The Sabres' big guns again silent. You don't win most nights when your goals come from Stafford/Gaustad/McCormick.
Myers continues to be downright awful at times. He's minus-7 for the season, which might be the worst in the NHL. He's trying to keep his spirits up. I talked to him for a few minutes tonight for our story coming in Monday's paper (cheap plug). But he just has to be better or this defense will continue to suffer as a group.
In the net: Can't fault Lalime on any of the goals. He made a couple nice saves. Still, just 17 saves on 21 shots doesn't get the job done when the guy at the other end is stopping 38 pucks and standing on his head. He wasn't real happy with the tying goal by Dave Bolland, although the Hawks winger came in alone after speeding by Craig Rivet. The puck slid through Lalime's legs.
"You try to follow him but you have to open up at some point as you move across," he said. "He just got me by the time I got my paddle down and it squeezed through."