The Buffalo Sabres' game tonight began like most this season - they were outshot, outplayed, and outscored in the first period, and things looked just as bad heading in to the second.
But when it was all said and done, the Sabres came away on the right side of a 3-1 victory, their second of the season.
In order to get their first regulation victory, the Sabres needed a monster game from Jhonas Enroth, which they did get. The blue and gold were outshot 45-21 and once again didn't come alive until the third period. However, their defense and young guns all played very well, and helped mitigate the lack of offense for the first two frames.
Puck possession continues to be a problem for the Sabres, as their shot differential and a whopping 45 hits tonight will attest. Buffalo was outplayed for the majority of the game, and was lucky to escape with the win. Still, for team basking in the glow of its first regulation win of the season in game #12, I doubt they care very much how it happened.
Enroth the Hero
Jhonas Enroth made 44 saves, tying a career high, and once again the goaltender was the best player on the ice for Buffalo. He only made a few saves of the spectacular variety, but his rebound control and positioning was Miller-esque tonight, and he kept the Sabres in the game through two listless periods.
Rookies Look Good
Rasmus Ristolainen scored his first NHL goal tonight. Nikita Zadorov had a monster hit in the third and had everyone talking amidst over 20 minutes of ice time. Zemgus was Zemgusing, and even Grigorenko looked pretty good tonight, finally getting the opportunity to play on the second line. Those four teenagers were the first quartet of teens to start for an NHL team in 17 years, according to @SabresStats, and if they can play like that more consistently, it's going to make this season a heck of a lot more enjoyable, and the future much brighter.
Mike Weber left the ice and did not return thanks to an upper body injury. He was being used as the seventh defenseman tonight, and has been just terrible all season, so we wish him a speedy recovery in both health and hockey playing ability.
Three Things To Watch For
1. How will the rotation of seven defensemen work?
Mike Weber was clearly the odd man out, and the sabres defense looked pretty solid all night - coincidence? Zadorov and Ristolainen looked very good tonight, and all the pairings seemed to click.
2. Can the Sabres find their game tonight against another poor hockey team?
3. How will the highly juggled forward lines produce?
Not bad, actually. They all had their moments in the sun, and the Sabres managed to spread the talent around pretty evenly. In fact, if you ignore the fact that they were outshot more than 2:1 in the game, the forwards actually looked OK.
2. - the road captain finally gets a monkey off his back with his first goal
3. - Opened the scoring tonight, four shots, two hits
Comment of the Game
This better be good!
My 1st game of the season….Lets go Buffalo!
You are never ever allowed to leave.