I am two days late with this recap but I wanted to talk about the game. I originally watched the game at a party and my initial reaction was they played a good game. I wanted to confirm my initial thoughts before sharing them with you so I watched the game a second time today. My initial reaction was correct...the Sabres played a really good game.
It's amazing what a difference two days make. On Saturday night the Sabres beat arguably the best team in the NHL and on Thursday they lost to a Carolina team that has played better but is in 14th place in the Eastern Conference. The biggest difference was defense. The Sabres limited the Sharks chances and only allowed two odd man rushes (one ended up being a Sharks goal).
I decided to go back and watch the Carolina game as well and count the scoring chances for both teams . The Sabres had close to the same number of chances in both games but I counted 21 chances for Carolina and 14 chances for the Sharks. That is a huge difference in the commitment to defense.
The charts below are the scoring chances I counted while watching the games. The stats are not official in any way, they are my opinion based on what I watched in the games.
|Sabres vs. Carolina|
|Sabres vs. Sharks|
- I mentioned defense was the biggest difference and in my notes I noted two horrible giveaways, one by Rivet and the other by Lydman. Outside of those two miscues, I thought the entire defense was solid. I have been very critical of Chris Butler all season and Steve Montador in recent weeks but both were outstanding on Saturday.
- Derek Roy was once again the best player on the ice for either team. He might be the only Sabres player that is not happy the break is here because he has been very good recently. I should add Thomas Vanek as well because he was great once again.
- Although I thought Vanek and Roy were the Sabres best I should mention that the line of 19-55-29 was good once again. They have been a key part of the Sabres offense recently.
- This was a big win for Ryan Miller as he heads into the Olympics for the United States. It was nice to hear the crowd serenade him with a USA...USA...USA chant at the end of the game.
- This win helps to set us all at ease as we head into the Olympic break.