On Sunday night the Sabres played one of their worst games of the season at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. Tonight the Sabres went on the road and played a masterful game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It wasn't a dominating performance but it was a classic road win and that is exactly what this team needed.
After a slow start for Buffalo, Drew Stafford put the Sabres on the board with a wrist shot that beat Justin Pogge. That goal seemed to spark the Sabres and the flood gates opened. Buffalo added two more goals before the end of the first period and led 3-0 after just 20 minutes. That was pretty much all the Sabres needed against the overmatched Leafs but Stafford added another power play goal in the third period to seal the victory.
Stafford Stays Hot
Drew Stafford has been one of the Sabres best players of late and tonight was the same old story. Stafford scored twice in the game, both on the power play, to give him a career high 17 goals on the season. His 17 goals are a modest goal total but considering his slow start, it is an impressive total.
Stafford has been scoring goals with relative ease over the last month. The difference in his game seems to be confidence. A couple of weeks ago he was put on a line with Tim Connolly and the pair started clicking immediately. Many people, myself included wondered if Stafford was coming into his own or just feeding off Connolly, we now have our answer. Stafford has been doing everything well and he helped the Sabres earn a big two points tonight.
Miller is Back
On Sunday night Ryan Miller lasted only 20 minutes before watching the rest of the game from bench. It wasn't because Miller was playing poorly but rather to spark the team. Maybe it was the extra rest or maybe it was just Ryan Miller being Ryan Miller but he was outstanding tonight. The Leafs put plenty of pressure on in the games first 10 minutes but Miller made every save and allowed the Sabres to remain in the game until they got their offense going. Miller made 27 saves in all and allowed only a second period power play goal that he had no chance to make the save on.
The Buffalo Sabres aren't the best team in the league while on the road but they are pretty good. With the win against the Leafs they improved their record to 14-11-4 away from home and they are 16-11-2 at home this season. Ultimately it could be the Sabres play on the road that will seperate them from some of the teams they are competing with for a playoff spot. Montreal and Pittsburgh stand out as teams that are not very good away from home and the Pathers and Rangers are both playing .500 hockey away from home.
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The Sabres hope to build off of their win tonight as they prepare to head into Philadelphia to take on the Flyers. The Flyers are currently three points ahead of the Sabres at 69 points and they have three games in hand on the Sabres as well.