Even early on in the Buffalo Sabres season, these recaps can almost start to right themselves. Opponent gets early goal and gets handful of scoring chances that goaltender stops. Opponent scores another goal or two in second or third period and then the Sabres try and make it close at the end of the third period. Names change and so do some of the events, but the basic premise is still the same.
Monday's game against the Minnesota Wild followed that same narrative as well. Kyle Brodziak scored the first goal of the game for the Wild at the 5:23 mark of the first period. The Sabres were out shot six to five in the first frame. Brian Flynn actually tied the game in the second period at the fifteen minute mark and the Wild were able to score the game winner just four minutes later.
This one is different though because the game winner was scored by Jason Pominville, the returning prodigal son, and the lights went out for 16 minutes. Pominville roofed a shot over Enroth on the power play in the second period and that goal ended up turning into the game winner. When we talked about the possibilities for the game, this outcome seemed the most likely.
To Pominville's credit, it was an experience for him, "Once I got to the arena this morning and had to make a left instead of a right and to go into a locker room that I've never really seen, just seeing the guys talking to the media I've had to deal with for a while. It was a special day and it's a day I'll remember for a while."
For the Sabres, the quotes coming out of the locker room were exactly the same. "Right now, the production side of things just aren't getting it done. That's the biggest thing from winning and losing and it's everybody and it's tough right now but you have to keep going at it, you have to continue to push," from Steve Ott. Jhonas Enroth had this to say after the game; "It's frustrating when you don't get the puck in but just have to keep working and keep believing and trusting in yourself.
Three Things To Watch For
1.) What will the reception for Pominville be?
Mainly mixed. There were some early cheers for Pominville as he was announced into the starting lineup and no one booed him at any point when he touched the puck. There were some boos mixed in with cheers when he scored his goal.
2.) Will Pominville score against the Sabres?
If you don't know the answer to this, you haven't read close enough.
3.) Can the Sabres find any sort of scoring?
Still averaging one goal a game, this time coming from Brian Flynn. Winning hockey games is going to be super tough this season if the team is going to only average one goal a game.