The Sabres did everything they could to make sure they played better in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Sabres set a franchise record with three goals in the first 2:11 of the game. No Sabres team ever scored three goals that quickly, including the high powered offensive team of 2006-2007.
The fast start was the biggest reason the Sabres the Sabres finally got that elusive fifth win in a row. Four times this season the Sabres won four in a row but lost the fifth, this time the Sabres were able to win the fifth game. You have to go all the way back to December of 2007 for the last time the Sabres had a five game winning streak.
Now that the pleasantries are out of the way we can talk about the Sabres struggles this evening. Instead of stepping on their throat and going for the jugular, the Sabres sat back and allowed the Lightning back in the game. The Lightning scored twice in the first and went to the locker room trailing by one instead of three.
The Sabres deserve some credit for eventually putting the game away and winning by two goals. Too often we have seen this team panic in that situation but this year has been different. The Sabres are now 17-0-0 when they lead after two periods. Ryan Miller has a lot to do with it but the confidence of the team is the biggest reason.
This is currently the Sabres best line. Connolly and Hecht are playing their best hockey of the season and Pominville has been solid along the way. This line is starting to remind me of the Hecht-Briere-Pominville line. Lindy Ruff would be wise to keep these guys together for the remainder of the season and allow them to work through the bad games they are sure to have.
Hecht scored a goal tonight, Pominville scored a goal and Connolly had two assists. Connolly now has 11 points in his last seven games and has tied his career high with a seven game point streak. The most impressive part of this line has been their recent physical play. Connolly had only one hit tonight but he had a season high three hits against Atlanta on New Year's Day.
Rookie of the Year?
Tyler Myers continues to impress me more and more. I'm no longer amazed at how much ice time he logs (23:57 tonight) but I am amazed at what he does while on the ice. Myers scored his fourth goal of the season with a howlitzer over the shoulder of Mike Smith just 23 seconds after the opening faceoff. With all the talk about needing a fast start, who thought it would be a 19 year-old rookie that would provide the spark?
Myers is more than just an asset in the offensive zone, he added two hits and four blocked shots tonight as well. Its amazing to think about how good this kid is going to be when he has more experience and when he grows into his body.
- 11 players had points tonight with Connolly, Lydman and Rivet all getting two assists.
- Tim Kennedy was a minus-2 but led the team with five hits tonight. Kennedy just quietly goes about his business while Myers gets all the publicity. Kennedy deserves to recognized for his solid play as a rookie.
- Drew Stafford scored a power play goal that gave him 10 goals on the season. He is the sixth Sabres player to reach 10 goals. Jochen Hecht also netted his ninth goal of the season tonight.