It wasn't pretty, it wasn't flashy, it wasn't brilliant but it was a win. It took a gutsy effort and more great goaltending for the Sabres to earn the 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It's tough to say that Buffalo was the better team tonight because that wasn't always the case but they battled hard all night. They took advanatge of their chances and once again they relied on Ryan Miller to make big saves.
This was the Sabres fifth consecutive home win dating all the way back to January 6. Early in the season they struggled at home but they seem to thrive on home ice lately. Buffalo plays three of their next four at home including games against Western Conference power San Jose and a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
It has been fun watching this team as of late. They haven't won all of their games but they have battled in every single one of them. This team isn't the same team that won the Presidents Trophy but they are finally creating an identity. Consistency has plagued this team in the past so only time will tell if they continue to play at this level.
Living the High Life
Ryan Miller seen his shutout streak end tonight but not before it reached a career best 157 minutes and 13 seconds. After two consecutive shutouts, Miller allowed the Canadiens to score two goals in the victory. That doesn't tell the story as to how good Miller was. He made 35 saves including 15 saves in the first period. Without Miller's spectacular play in the first period, we may be talking about a Sabres loss instead of a 3-2 victory.
Welcome Back Spacek
The Sabres depleted blue line received good news when Jaro Spacek came back in the lineup but nobody could have predicted how good that news was. Spacek not only played tonight but he led all Sabres in ice time with 24 minutes and 45 seconds.
His most important play came early in the second period. Spacek rifled a slap shot by Carey Price just 27 seconds into the period and helped Buffalo to take control of the game. It was only the the third goal of the season for Spacek but it was an important one.
With Spacek back in the lineup it allowed Mike Weber and Chris Butler to be relied upon less and put the youngsters in a more comfortable position. Butler had slumped recently but was solid again tonight.
The Sabres secondary scoring is something I have been very critical of. Tonight they received a goals from unlikely sources. In addition to Spacek lighting the lamp, Nathan Paetsch played the game at forward and was rewarded with a goal of his own.
Peatch played on a line with Matt Ellis and Adam Mair and although they played sparingly, they were probably the Sabres best line. They generated numerous scoring chances and had six of the Sabres 22 shots. Everytime the Sabres needed a spark it seemed these guys were on the ice and creating chances.
Power "less" Play
If there was one negative to the game, it was the Sabres power play. This is an area that the Sabres need to improve on to be a real contender. They were 0-for-4 tonight and have struggled with the man advantage. They scored twice against the Leafs on Wednesday night but they had nine opportunities in that game.
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
I'm sure it wasn't another off night for Harry but unfortuantely i didn't catch any one-liners. Feel free to add your Harry Neale quote in the comments.
Thanks to everyone that contributed to the game thread tonight and hopefully we'll see you again tomorrow night.
Roll Call: ccthemovieman, D.O., dfderie, qdloser, chargerman73se, Joan O.
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There is no rest for the Sabres. They are right back in action tomorrow night in Ottawa. Face-off is 7:00 PM on Saturday night.