It was quite simply the best the Sabres had played all season. It's really easy to say that when the score was 8-1 but this game went well beyond that. The forwards were back-checking, the defense was clearing away rebounds, Ryan Miller was making big saves, goals were going into the net but most important...the were hitting. The Sabres played the most physical game I have seen them play in years and it paid off. I'm not sure if it was Brian Campbell being named captain, a speech from Lindy Ruff or the fact that they were embarrassed by their effort on Wednesday against St. Louis but they played with a ton of energy and were rewarded by a 8-1 victory over a really good hockey team.
The Sabres received goals from seven different players in the game with Ales Kotalik the only player scoring two goals. Jaroslav Spacek led the Sabres were three points, a goal and two assists. Maxim Afinogenov has struggled for weeks now and when he scored a goal last night you could see a weight lifted off of his shoulders. He finished the game with a goal and an assist.
In his first game since being named the captain for the month of December Brian Campbell was outstanding. Campbell led the team in ice time playing over 25 minutes and he had two assists and was a plus four. If I had to choose a first star it would be Campbell but it was really aq complete team effort.
To put this game into perspective, it was a regular season game played in December and there is still a long way to go. The win gives Buffalo an additional two points in the standings but it is still something to build on. The Sabres will now venture on a West Coast road trip that begins Wednesday in Anaheim.