Sabres Lose Controversial 4-3 Contest

Sabres Lose Controversial 4-3 Contest

The Dallas Stars welcomed the Buffalo Sabres into the American Airlines Center Thursday night looking to avenge a previous loss the Sabres handed them earlier this month. The Sabres were looking to continue their winning ways as they had won their last 3 in (all in OT) a row, 4-1-0 in the past five including a 6-3-1 record in their past 10 games until Thursday night’s 4-3 loss.

I’m usually a big proponent of you having every opportunity to win a game over 60 minutes, or conversely, lose it. I just believe there are too many variables in any game for it to be about only about one thing.

That theory doesn’t always hold true because for it to be true, the Referees should never have been the ones deciding the outcome of Thursday’s game. Midway through the 3rd period of the Buffalo Sabres vs. Dallas Stars game last night, there was a shot that was apparently stopped and saved by Dallas goalie Anti Niemi. However, when he stood up the puck was clearly over the line and had been the whole time. Several Sabres players were pointing underneath Niemi before the Referee, who was standing beside them, stopped the play. However, he never called a goal and went straight to the replay booth.

DALLAS, TX – JANUARY 26: Dan Bylsma, head coach of the Buffalo Sabres during a game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on January 26, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

My question at the time was if he got up and the puck was in the net, it’s in right? Wrong!! The Referee came back after a long, long discussion with replay officials in Toronto and signaled, No goal. No explanation, nothing, just no goal.

We move on to the point in the game with just seconds left on the clock, where we have another dispute. This shot hits off of the pants of G Kari Lehtonen while he was backed up into the net. The overhead clearly shows a puck lying on his goalie pants across the line. However, again the Referee runs to the replay booth for Toronto to make the call, eventually deciding it was a No Goal also. However, upon further review, I feel even if they would have allowed the goal Dallas Head Coach Lindy Ruff would have challenged goalie interference and won the case. However, they still should have made the right call, to begin with.

This is my only conclusion to both those situations. The NHL has trained their Referee’s in all situations on the ice. But yet, they are so afraid to make the call on the ice themselves. It has turned into not only a delay of game but let’s face it an insult to the intelligence or incompetence of striped shirts all around the NHL these days.

This loss could have been avoided by better play by the Sabres at different times of the game. After all, they did have a 2-0 lead at one point and allowed Dallas to claw their way back. I think they should all buy Anders Nilsson a steak dinner for keeping the game as close as it was.

At the 3:44 mark of the opening frame Evander Kane skated all the way in from center ice, sliced his way in on the goalie and tapped in his 13th of the season, unassisted. Then at 9:30 of the period Brian Gionta fed Kane the puck who then skated it around the Stars net and fed it to Matt Moulson who deflected in his 10th on the powerplay.

Dallas came back with one of their own as Patrick Sharp fired a screen shot past Nilsson for his 5th from John Klingberg and Lauri Korpikoski at 10:59 of the period. That would be all for the first with the Stars holding a huge edge in shots on goal. 17-5, but trailing 2-1.

Dallas came out firing in the second period by scoring 3 straight. Jamie Benn added his 13th on the power play just 42 seconds into the third frame from Jason Spezza and Patrick Eaves. Then Patrick Sharp scored his 2nd of the game and 6th of the campaign from Devin Shore at 13:16. Tyler Seguin made it 4-2 Stars with is 18th at 15:42, unassisted. The Buffalo Sabres would creep back to within one when Evander Kane scored his 2nd of the game and 14th of the season. However, that’s as close as the Sabres were allowed to get, subject to the suspect controversial replay of a no goal with just seconds left that could have sent the Sabres into their fourth overtime game in a row.

No matter the outcome, will the game be known as “No Goal” #2 in Dallas, Texas? But as Buffalo Sabres fans, we should just take it on the chin and move on. Because trust me the humans that feel the worst are the ones that were had skates on and the Sabres crest on the chest. They’re the ones that suffered the worst when it happened. We as fans are the ones who have the most trouble letting it go. It is a must that players have short memories and move on to the next opponent and then the next.

The Buffalo Sabres, as well as the rest of the National Hockey League, will now enjoy a short break in the schedule for All-Star weekend. The game is on Sunday in Los Angeles at the Staples Center at 3:00 p.m. The lone representative for the Buffalo Sabres will be Kyle Okposo. He will take with him a team-leading 15 goals and 31 points.

The Sabres won’t be in action again until Tuesday night when the meet up with the Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 p.m. in Quebec City.

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