When a team only has five defensemen playing in a game, and when most of those defensemen are still green, a good goalie is the best chance for them to win the game. Ryan Miller was everything that he had to be for the Sabres to pull out the 2-0 win against the Coyotes tonight. Miller stopped all 28 shots, including 15 in the first period alone on his way to his fourth shutout of the season.
On the defenseman front, Jaroslav Spacek was injured early in the first period and only ended up playing 4 minutes in the game. That left the Sabres with five defensemen in the game and they rose to the occasion. Chris Butler led the defensemen with 29:55 of ice time, Lydman with 28:34, Rivet with 27:27, and Gragnani with 19:19. Paestch only played about 7 minutes in the game due to the fact that he racked up 21 penalty minutes. The defense as a whole was sound as the game moved on. They looked very shaky in the first, giving up 15 shots, but settled down as the game moved on. As a unit, they were +4 with two assists. For a defense that has been battered in the last few weeks, they put together a valient effort.
On the offensive side of things, it was quiet but effective. Tim Connolly put in a rebound midway through the second period that got the Sabres on the board and then Derek Roy undressed Ken Klee to make a cross ice pass to Paille to score the second. It was the first goal for Paille in 15 games and he definitely made it count. The offense looked alright with a handful of chances that they created against an alright Coyotes defense. They didn't look spectacular, only mustering 5 shots in the first period, but they got the job done.
A fairly spirited conversation in the comments tonight. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it in there tonight but I will try and make an appearance during the Anaheim game on Monday. A total of 89 comments by three commenters, Joan O., dfderie, and HO