After a terrible loss like Monday night, I look to see how the team starts the next game. The Buffalo Sabres responded admirably in their 3-0 victory over the red hot Washington Capitals. Washington had a six game winning streak and four game road winning streak before they were shutdown in Buffalo.
The Capitals outshot the Sabres 35-28 but I felt this was one of the Sabres best games of the season. They did a remarkable job of shutting down Alexander Ovechkin and the rest of the high scoring Capitals. Ryan Miller made quite a few unbelievable saves but most of the Capitals shots came from the outside and never really tested Miller until the third period.
The Sabres scored three times tonight and every goal was the type of goal we have been looking for from this team all season. The first goal came early in the game on a shot from Steve Montador that pinballed in front of the net and found it's was behind Theodore. The second was a power play goal from Nathan Gerbe that came from a bad angle but bounced off of Theodore and into the net. The third was an end to end rush by Henrik Tallinder. Not only was it a great rush up ice by Tallinder but the first shot was stopped and he continued towards the net and fired the rebound behind the Capitals netminder.
Maybe I'm just excited by a 3-0 victory but I can't find anything to complain about. I thought the defense was great, the forwards did a good job of backchecking and best of all...they took the ice away from the Capitals snipers. Buffalo played an up tempo game and really forced the Capitals to work hard for their chances.
- We have all been calling for some kids to get called up and spark the team. They called up Nathan Gerbe today and he responded with his first career goal and an assist on the first goal of the game.
- Tyler Myers continues to struggle with bad giveaways but he deserves credit for helping to shutdown the Capitals top line along with Tallinder.
- Thomas Vanek never found his way on the scoresheet tonight but I thought he played an outstanding game. He was strong along the wall and he worked to get a couple of good scoring chances. If he continues to work as hard as he did tonight, he will find his way on the scoresheet in the very near future.
- The power play is still a concern and looked pretty bad tonight despite the Gerbe goal. It was a good goal by Gerbe but it wasn't because the Sabres applied pressure with the man advantage.
- The penalty killing has been great for Buffalo and they were again tonight. The penalty killing has been so good because they limit their opponents opportunities. They did that again tonight by giving the Capitals only one power play chance.
- Andrej Sekera didn't show any effects from his ankle injury that threatened to keep him out of the lineup. This was one of the best games I have seen Sekera play the entire season.
- It's no surprise when Ryan Miller plays an outstanding game but I would argue this was his best game of the season. He made five or six amazing saves and rebounded nicely from a couple of softies on Monday night.
Patrick Kane will return to Buffalo on Friday night. The Sabres schedule does not get any easier as they play the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are possibly the best team in the Western Conference.