Buffalo Sabres 3 vs. NY Rangers 1
It's time the rest of the NHL take notice, the Sabres are a good hockey team. The Sabres went in to Madison Square Garden and beat the previously unbeaten New York Rangers by a score of 3-1. Sure there are going to be naysayers that will say that the Rangers were due to lose a game, the fact is that the Sabres went into hostile territory and smothered the Rangers. The Sabres rattled the twine three times but it was the smothering defense that was the story. The Rangers managed only three shots in the first period and nine in the first two periods combined.
Once again it was Thomas Vanek that was reaking havoc on the opposing defense. He scored two goals for the second time in as many games and raised his season total to five in only three games. On Monday Vanek scored his first career shorthanded goal and tonight he followed it up with his second career shorthanded goal. Playing on the Penalty Kill adds a whole new dimension to his game and to the Sabres PK.
The Sabres still have not allowed a goal while they are shorthanded, killing off all five of the Rangers opportunities tonight. The Sabres have now killed off all 15 of their opponents power play opportunities. In addition they are a plus two while in a man-down situation.
This was a game of special teams for the Sabres, in addition to the shorthanded tally they scored twice on the power play. The Rangers were a perfect 21-of-21 on the penalty kill before allowing the Sabres to score two power play goals. The first power play goal was scored by Ales Kotalik, his second power play goal of the season. The second came from Thomas Vanek and put the Sabres ahead for good. The goal came after Paul Mara took a five minute major for fighting after he took exception to a missed check by Patrick Kaleta.
Most of the so-called experts picked the Sabres to finish anywhere from 9th-13th in the conference, they may be rethinking that position now. The only preview (besides the one I did here) that selected the Sabres to finish in the playoffs was the one done by James Mirtle. The Sabres are 3-0-0 with victories over the Montreal Canadiens (in a shootout) and the New York Rangers. Those two teams are a combined 8-0-0 in games against other opponents. The Sabres have scored twice while while shorthanded and have killed of 15-of-15 penalties. They have scored five power play goals in 22 opportunities. Finally they have allowed only three goals in three games, including the 2-1 shootout victory over the Canadiens.
It's still a long season and you can not win a championship in October and November but this team has something last years team didn't, CONFIDENCE. It's easy to see it in the way they play, last season they often looked scared and played not to lose. A year removed from all the controversy that surrounded them last year, it seems to be all about hockey again.
They'll try their luck again on Friday night when they welcome the Vancouver Canucks into HSBC Arena.
Roll Call: It was our best open thread of the season and I had to miss almost half of it. I know it sound pathetic but we set a record with seven people making comments in the open thread, even more pathetic is that three are related to me. Hey if you can't get help from your family, who can you get help from? Anyway...on to the roll call...making comments in tonights thread were: HO, sireric(Rumbler and Rangers fan), Joan O., Brian Galliford (Head Rumbler), BeastMode (another rumbler), myself and qdloser. The winner with a total of 45 comments was HO.