The way to regroup from a disappointing home loss is to get off to a fast start in your next game. The Buffalo Sabres did just that against the Florida Panthers, scoring five times in the first period en route to a 5-2 victory against the Florida Panthers.
Mike Grier started the scoring for the Sabres with a wrist shot through the legs of Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen just 1:11 after the opening faceoff. Kamil Kreps found himself in the penalty box for hooking just 16 seconds later and Jason Pominville scored the Sabres second goal 29 seconds later. Just like that the Sabres had a 2-0 lead before the game was two minutes old.
Noticing that his team needed a spark, Florida coach Pete Deboar quickly pulled Scott Clemmensen in favor of Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun didn't fare much better against the Sabres offensive explosion. Matt Ellis scored his first of the season and Tyler Myers netted his second just past the halfway point of the first period.
Give the Panthers credit because they never gave up in this game. They beat Miller for the first time f the evening with just under six minutes left in the first. There was at least a thought the Panthers could come back at that point but Thomas Vanek was credited with the Sabres fifth goal just about two minutes later.
The Sabres took their 5-1 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes and they never really looked back. They looked sloppy the rest of the way but Ryan Miller came up with big save after big save. The Panthers finally beat him again with less than five minutes left in the game to make the final score 5-2.
Fast Start a Welcome Change
After the way the Sabres started against the Thrashers, they needed to have a fast start on Wednesday against the Florida Panthers. Nobody could have predicted what happened in the first period in that game. Buffalo exploded for five goals by five different players and four of them were at even strength.
The Sabres have scored four first period goals in their first six games before they had their five goal outburst against Florida. It was reminiscent of the second period explosion last week against the Red Wings. The Sabres have now scored 19 goals in last four games after starting the season with four goals in their first three games.
Secondary Scoring Continues
The Sabres scored three goals in the first five minutes of the game tonight. One goal was scored on the power play but the other two were scored by the third and fourth lines. Mie Grier started the scoring just over a minute into the game and Matt Ellis scored on a backhander just before the five minute mark of the game.
We often hear about secondary scoring when referring to the elite teams in the NHL and the Sabres seem to be getting that secondary scoring.
Miller for Vezina?
While it's too early to start awarding the season ending trophies, it's hard to ignore the play of Ryan Miller. Miller was outstanding again tonight although it was overshadowed by the Sabres five goal first period outburst. Miller made 41 saves in the win and many of them were spectacular. The Panthers outshot the Sabres 41-36 and that is after Buffalo jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the early going. Too many penalties led to Miller having to be spectacular to get the win.
The last two Sabres wins were the direct result of great goaltending from Ryan Miller. The Sabres gave up plenty of opportunities in the win Friday and again in this win. It is a trend that will have to be fixed quickly if the Sabres want to succeed. Miller can't be asked to make this many saves every night or he will certainly become fatigued at some point.
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
The Harry Neale quote of the game came courtesy tripl21 since he was the only one that heard it.
If they could punch with their lips, they’d both be knocked out…on kaleta and horton yapping
Roll Call: David Oleksy, JSCoope, Kooz, krytime, qdloser, zaniac75, BenAllen, UZ, clownfat, tengoalyrunr30, Bob Sheppard, TEMSON, ccthemovieman, sabres19, tripl21, Afino, J2, cwel87
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The Sabres will remain in Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Lightning have been really good on home ice with a 2-0-1 record.