This was a fun hockey game to watch. We finally seen that 60 minute effort I was talking about last week.
The Sabres played an excellent up tempo game but the game was closer than the score indicated. The Sabres got some good bounces that resulted in goals and allowed them to jump out to a big lead. I thought the Coyotes played decent hockey and matched the Sabres intensity most of the game.
It was a battle of the Sabres speed against the Coyotes physical play and the Sabres speed won out. What makes the Sabres speed such a weapon is their willingness to match the physical play of their opponent. In years past the Sabres would not match physical play and would instead lose their composure.
After the way the Sabres have started games recently, it was important they get a fast start against a Coyotes team that has been good at home this season. The Sabres fast start came in the way of a goal off the stick of rookie phenom Tyler Myers just 2:37 into the game. The Sabres carried that momentum through the first period and outshot Phoenix 10-4.
Despite the Sabres first period domination there was a feeling it would be a 60 minute battle between two teams that wanted desperately to win this hockey game. That feeling evaporated quickly after Chris Butler and Patrick Kaleta scored early in the second period. After that it was a matter of playing well enough to win with Ryan Miller in goal. They kept the pedal to the floor and continued their offensive barrage on Coyotes goaltending.
People were questioning the Sabres 7-0-1 record against Western Conference teams because many of the games were played at home. We may have those people to thank for tonights dominate performance. The Sabres played like they had something to prove to themselves and all the skeptics.
If the Sabres continue to play with a chip on their shoulder it might be a successful West Coast trip. The Sabres have struggled in recent trips out west but if tonight is any indication, they might make a statement about the makeup of this team.
The line of Jochen Hecht-Tim Connolly-Jason Pominville has been unbelievable in recent weeks. Connolly had three assists tonight to extend his point streak to 12 games. Pominville had two goals and an assist tonight and Hecht added a goal and two assists in the victory.
It's not an accident the Sabres have not lost in regulation since December 23 against the Washington Capitals and this line was put together around the same time. I mentioned a couple of weks ago that the line reminded me of when Hecht and Pominville played with Briere a couple seasons ago.