The Sabres opened the 2013 season yesterday with a win over the Philadelphia Flyers, something they couldn't manage to do once last season. Now they face both their first divisional opponent and their first set of back-to-back games. They showed toughness and grit in the opener, but can they keep their momentum going?
Game #2 - Buffalo Sabres (1-0-0) @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1-0-0)
Puck Drop - 7:00pm - Air Canada Centre - Toronto, ON
TV - MSG, SNET-ONTARIO Radio - WGR 550-AM
Leafs Blog - Pension Plan Puppets (Please play nice if you're going to visit.)
The Sabres and Leafs both enter this game as two of league's "best" teams, with undefeated records. Granted, they're both just 1-0-0, but how often have we gotten a first place match up between these two teams in recent memory?
Buffalo was impressively physical in their opening game against the Flyers, with Drew Stafford and Steve Ott sending the message that this year is going to be different than the last. Thomas Vanek exploded for five points (2+3) in the opener, and is currently tied for the league lead in points with Marian Hossa. We'll see if the Sabres can keep their energy levels up just a day after an emotional win.
Oh, and Sabres fans have to wait one more day to hear the dulcet voice of Rick Jeanneret calling the game. He's still feeling ill, so Kevin Sylvester will fill in tonight. I know, I know.
Three Questions For The Enemy
Thanks to the folks at PPP for swapping questions and answers with us. Check out our responses at PPP.
2. How does the Leafs goaltending situation look with Scrivens and Reimer this year compared to Gustavsson and Toskala?
Well, Scrivens and Reimer are not huge piles of sh*t so it's definitely an improvement. Sticking with Toskala can probably be seen as the move that cost Burke his job because of the knock on effect. Gustavsson I feel sorry for because he was tossed into the deep end, had the heart ablation, and then had to deal with Toskala who by all accounts was a loner and didn't interact well with his battery mate.
Both have a strong track record in the AHL, for what it's worth, and Reimer at least has had some success at the NHL level. The upside is that the Leafs will be able to get some idea of what they have in these two. If they are league average than the Leafs are laughing and at least know they have part of a goaltending duo. If one of them takes the reins then maybe their issues are in the past. It goes without saying that the latter is a long shot.
3. Did you end up hating Tim Connolly as much as we did?
Personally I didn't but I know that there is a big portion of Leafs fans did. To be frank, it comes from having a binary viewpoint on things. When Connolly signed, it was a low-risk, high-reward move. Although he did have some early success with Kessel and Lupul, he was shifted to the third line. In part I think that the goal was to have more balanced lines and Wilson felt that Bozak couldn't contribute as much in that role. But of course people forget that he was good in that role. He also didn't get the PP or PK time that he had expected. I'm not sure if Wilson and Burke didn't speak before the deal but Connolly definitely wasn't put in a position to succeed.
And this year, when it became apparent that he wasn't going to make the team, he took his medicine and went to the AHL which was possible because he didn't have a no trade clause. So the signing didn't work out in part because of the way he was used by the coach but it wasn't a millstone like some people say it was. Overall, it just didn't work out. Not like he didn't try.
Vanek - Hodgson - Pominville
Foligno - Ennis - Stafford
Ott - Grigorenko - Hecht
Scott - Ellis- Kaleta
Myers - Regehr
Ehrhoff - Sulzer
Sekera - Leopold
Goal: Ryan Miller
Scratches: Leino, Weber, Brennan
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James van Riemsdyk - - - - /
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Goal: Ben Scrivens