Sabres make Johnson look bad in front of his old team with a horrible effort

March 7, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Chad Johnson came into this game 6-2-0 since winning in Calgary on Jan. 22. He’s earned starts that he wasn’t going to get and had beaten some very good teams in Anaheim, Tampa Bay, Boston and Toronto. Johnson didn’t want to take that much of the credit, “You start winning games and I can’t say enough about the way the guys are playing in front of me, from the Calgary game on, (the game in Calgary) if you take the time to watch the games before that, the Jersey game, Vegas, Pittsburgh, you know all those games how the played out is completely different.”

Different is right. Until this game, Johnson has been able to see shots because the defense is getting to the battle early and the battle isn’t going on in front of him as shots are coming.

That all went out the window in the first 20 minutes as the Sabres weren’t moving their feet and did a lot of standing around. This game looked like a Sabre game in October and November.

Johnson made a great sweeping save with his stick on Mark Jankowski, but Johan Larsson and Jason Pominville didn’t react until a wide open Sam Bennett had scored the goal.

Just three minutes later, Jankowski came down the slot and beat the former Flame on the glove side on a shot that he’d want back. I give him a pass on that one, because it’s been a long while since Johnson has had one like that.

Johnson had to be very sharp for the rest of the period as he had Michael Frolik in alone down the slot not once, but twice and he made the save. Johnson saw 17 shots come his way while the rookie at the other end, David Rittich had a really easy time with six saves.

The Sabres had three pretty good chances that shot high or wide and Jordan Nolan had a great chance where he didn’t even shoot.

The second period wasn’t much different as Buffalo got an early power play only to have Ryan O’Reilly coughed the puck up to Jankowski. Johnson looked real good stopping the breakaway.

After that, it really went sideways and none of it was Johnson’s fault. Mark Giordano’s shot went in off of Zemgus Girgensons who went down to block it and only got a partial piece.

I was just thinking it’s 3-0 and Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan haven’t even been a part of it. That ended 1:01 later when Gaudreau found a wide open Monahan for a one-timer and his 30th goal.

Johnson left playing just 26:01 making 18 saves on 22 shots. I would blame him for one of the four goals and even that one, he hasn’t given a goal like that up in a long time. Johnson was great in a 2-1 overtime victory over his old team in Calgary and I’m sure he’s very upset about being pulled this time against his hometown team. Just as he thanked his teammate for his winning streak, he can thank them for this one too.