THREE (3!) GOALS
The Sabres finally managed to score more than one or two goals in a game, and - lo and behold - it resulted in their first win. They got scoring from their big point producers in a beautiful Vanek goal and a garbage Ennis goal, and found some secondary scoring thanks to a Marcus Foligno seeing eye shot. The offense looked competent at times, and the top two lines both flashed significant signs of chemistry tonight. Though the team was still outshot 44-34, we'll take some baby steps as long as they come with wins.
Strong Defensive Effort
Buffalo's defense all played well tonight. Mike Weber came back strong after being a healthy scratch (see below) while Tyler Myers led the team in TOI and really threw his weight around tonight. Christian Ehrhoff and Mark Pysyk were their typical wonderful selves, while Rasmus Ristolainen went unnoticed, an excellent trait for an 18-year old defenseman.
Miller Time All The Time
Ryan Miller was once again excellent tonight, making 41 saves on 44 shots, and coming up big in the shootout as he so often does. Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray discussed Miller's Team USA candidacy at the end of the game, and games like this prove why he can be an all-world goaltender when he's on his game. Buffalo will have an advantage every night he's between the pipes.
The one black cloud hanging over the game was the knowledge that Zemgus Girgensons took a Myers shot to the face in the first period, and did not return. Big Z was gushing blood onto the ice, but did manage to skate off under his own power. After the game, reports were that he would need stitches, but that there was no serious injury.
Three Things To Watch For
1.) Can the Sabres find the back of the net repeatedly?
Yes! They scored not one, not two, but THREE goals, thus making this the largest offensive explosion of the season. In all seriousness, they got scoring from their big guns (Vanek, Ennis) and the secondary forwards (Foligno) which is exactly what the team will need to get in order to start turning things around.
2.) Will Mike Weber turn things around?
Weber responded very nicely in limited ice time, recording two shots, four blocked shots, and a team-high six hits in just 12:52 of ice time. That's a heck of a line for a third pairing defenseman, and hopefully will be the start of Weber's season turn-around.
3.) How often will Ryan Miller have to stand on his head?
Miller made 41 saves on 44 shots, and made two saves to win the shootout. So basically, exactly what he's been doing all season.
2. - PP goal and 3 shots
3. Frans Nielsen - Also scored, has cool name
Comment of the Game
I have nothing to contribute but just want record of the fact that I was here to witness this great day.
John Scott? What are you doing here?