Buffalo Sabres Need to Learn to Hold Leads

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I’m shocked the Sabres haven’t been able to hold off the Bruins in the playoffs.

Boston now holds a 3-1 series lead after last night’s win in double overtime.

The Sabres wound up losing when they took an ill-advised too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, which Boston took advantage of.

More specifically, Miroslav Satan, the one-time long-time Sabre, was able to score on Ryan Miller.

But the game shouldn’t have come down to that double overtime.

Buffalo has yet to hold a lead in the series. In fact, last night was their second blown two goal lead of the series.

The Sabres don’t have a lot of offensive punch. And what they do have is tough to access in the playoffs, as it is for all teams. Buffalo needs to focus on defensive hockey. A too many men penalty in a double overtime isn’t shocking; players are excited and adrenaline is pumping and while the penalty is far from ideal, it’s almost unavoidable.

But tight defense is a constant. The Sabres always have the ability to clamp down on the Bruins, especially down low.

The Sabres didn’t do that a few times last night, but most noticeably, on the last play of the game.

It sometimes looks like the Sabres want big, beautiful wins, and aren’t interested in a grinding, ugly, hang-on-by-a-thread type of victory. They seem like they want to end the game on a Sabres goal, when they should be trying to end it on stifling defense.

For whatever reason, the Sabres don’t seem interested in take-a-lead, keep-a-lead hockey.

Now that they’re down 3-1 in the series, Buffalo might want to re-evaluate their playoff philosophy.