No need to hurry home on a Sabres game night. As long as you make it in time for the third period, you won't miss any action. For the second consecutive game, the Sabres waited until the third period to start playing inspired hockey. Against Carolina the Sabres had no energy after two periods and trailed 1-0 as a result; tonight they played better in the first 40 minutes but they only led 1-0 and they were being outshot 28-20.
Of course we all know about the third period explosion of offense on Saturday that led to the Sabres 5-1 victory over the Canes. They weren't able to generate as much offense against the Leafs but Henrik Tallinder scored his first of the season only 20 seconds into the third to give the Sabres a 2-0 lead. Jochen Hecht beat Johan Gustafsson with a wrist shot later in the third period and the Sabres continued on to a 3-0 victory.
This was another game that everyone believed the Sabres would win and exactly the kind of game they would lose last season. There are some that believe this team is different than previous years and others that believe they are the same bunch of guys and they haven't learned their lesson. Count me as one of the people that believe in this team.
The last two games were admittedly against inferior opponents but there was no panic in the third period. How often did we see this team either get a lead or have a lead in the third period and blow it? The last two games they got the lead and they poured it on thick. No panic, no worry, just high energy, responsible hockey that leads to a few offensive chances.
"We Are Not Worthy"
Those were the words of Rick Jeanneret on Saturday night after Ryan Miller robbed Rod Brind'amour with a glove save in the second period. Of course words don't do the save justice, you have to actually see it to believe it. Those words are equally relevant whenever you get an opportunity to watch Ryan Miller play.
He amazes me more and more every single night. The most important part of his game might be the confidence he gives his teammates. Maybe there is no panic because they know how good Miller is. The team is allowed to play a wide open style because of his heroics so far this season.
Miller made 38 saves tonight to earn his third shutout of the season and his best play wasn't even a save. During the third period, Miller tried clearing the puck off the glass but instead it went through the camera hole in the glass and hit a camera man in the face. Miller skated over to make sure the gentleman was okay before he would get back in his crease. When the game ended, Miller skated over and gave the injured man his goalie stick. Miller is not only a great goalie but a wonderful human being as well.
Kennedy on the Scoresheet
Tim Kennedy is still looking for his first goal in Buffalo but tonight he scored his second goal on the road. It has to be a dream come true to play for your hometown team and that first goal in Buffalo will be special. With that being said, he has to be happy with his first two NHL goals. The first came against Martin Broduer, arguably the best goalie ever and the second came against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are like the Yankees to hockey fans, you either love them or you hate them and that makes goals against them special.
Penalty Killing: Another Solid Performance
Ryan Miller gets all the headlines because of the great saves he makes. The penalty killers need some love too. The Leafs were 0-for-4 on the power play tonight and they were held to perimeter shots during much of their time with the man advantage. The penalty killing units have been really good over the past week or so and need to finally be recognized for helping Miller look good on a nightly basis.