One thing is certain about the Buffalo Sabres this season...they never quit when things aren't going well. The Sabres started 2010 the same way they finished 2009; they scored four unanswered goals to erase a three goal deficit on their way to a 4-3 victory.
After the game they were obviously happy with the result of the game but not happy with the way they played. Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News stated via his Twitter that the players held a lengthy players only meeting following the contest. They can't continue to have poor starts if they want to be an elite team in the NHL.
The Sabres are 3-1-1 in their last five games but they could easily have lost all five games in regulation. Slow starts have been the theme of the last five games. The only game the Sabres didn't fall behind early was the St. Louis game but they still had to battle from behind in the third period.
What the Hecht
Maybe it was motivation from being left off the German Olympic roster or maybe he was finally rewarded for his recent hard work, but Jochen Hecht had a game he won't soon forget. The last couple of seasons have been a struggle for Hecht but his two goal performance last night gives him eight on the season.
Hecht has been playing well recently and this game adds some validity to that claim. Hecht has been a perennial 15-20 goal scorer that is defensively responsible, that is exactly what we are getting out of him this season.
Jochen Hecht wasn't the only Sabres player to be left off his countries Olympic roster. Tim Connolly thought he had a real chance to make the American squad but in the end they selected players like Chris Drury and David Backes. Connolly was an obvious bubble player and it was not as big of a surprise as Hecht being left off the German team, but still it could be motivation.
Connolly seemed to use his snubbing as motivation. He scored a big goal last night but more importantly he played a physical game. He played the body on a couple of occasions and he was the first player to come to the defense of Ryan Miller during a third period scrum.
Miller Returns to Form
Ryan Miller has been the one constant in the Sabres lineup this season. When the team was playing poorly they had Miller to back them up. That wasn't the case against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. Miller played poorly allowing three soft goals before Lalime replaced him.
Although my doubts were minimal, Miller erased those doubts with his performance against Atlanta. Once again Miller was the only Sabres player that showed up for the first half of the game. Miller was magnificent in a 32 save performance that included four big stops in the overtime.