The Sabres scored the first goal and led after one, but a quick goal to start the second for the Wings tied the game, and the better team never looked back. A meager third period attack wasn't enough to even the score, and Detroit added the empty netter to seal the deal at the end.
Buffalo was outshot 34-22, which is no surprise, and Detroit capitalized on the Sabres taking too many penalties, which again, was not a surprise. Head coach Ted Nolan spoke in his press conference about the importance of consistency, and threw a little jab at the refs calling a ticky-tack penalty or two, saying, "When you're a winning team, you get those calls."
In fact, the only consistent thing on the team, according to Nolan, "is our goaltending," and Ryan Miller was on point again tonight. Detroit caught some lucky bounces of Alex Sulzer on their second goal, and the first was a beauty by Darren Helm that no tender was stopping. Miller finished with a .939 save percentage and the first star. For what it's worth, his Captain Morgan moustache looks fantastic up close.
Another Slow Start, Quiet Crowd
Yes, the Sabres came out of the first period up 1-0 thanks to pretty goal by Cody Hodgson, but they were down in shots 14-6. Things improved in the second, with Buffalo actually outshooting Detroit 9-8, but it certainly didn't feel that way in the arena. A penalty shot to Steve Ott and one big Brayden McNabb hit provided the only excuse for the too-quiet audience in the FNC to cheer through two.
Slow starts were a trademark of the Ron Rolston, and second period letdowns were a standard of the Lindy Ruff era. Nolan's teams have been fairly consistent so far, but consistent certainly doesn't equal exciting. You're in the entertainment business, right Ted? So give us something to cheer about. (Ed note: Nolan did mention the fans coming alive in the third period after some hard work and nice hits, and promised more of that.)
Mark Pysyk continues to be one of the lone bright spots on this Buffalo team, finishing tonight with three hits, four blocked shots and a +1 rating. He didn't get a ton of ice time paired with Brayden McNabb, but made a great stop on a 3-on-1, and a few of his blocked shots were of the goal-saving variety. He and McNabb had the best possession numbers among defensemen tonight, and the two smooth operators complement each other nicely skill-wise. I'd like to see more of this pairing in the future. Like five minutes per game more.
1. Can the Future Line be as productive as we all hope?
Girgensons was his usual cannonball self, and earned praise from his head coach after the game as a guy with a very bright future. He careened in to Detroit goalie Jonas Gustavsson on a break, and was buzzing around on the forecheck all night. Adam and Grigorenko were less noticeable, and received less ice time, but Adam sacrificed the body on a painful shot block, and all three players seemed to have good energy tonight, something which was lacking from the team as a whole.
2. Can the rookies spur a lifeless power play?
Nope, the Sabres two power plays were both pathetic, can't even get in the zone-type of efforts. Steve Ott was denied on a penalty shot. Eek.
3. What will the reaction around the league be to seeing the Sabres third jerseys in action?
It was bad, but not as bad as watching the jerseys in person. Of course, this is just one man's opinion, but they don't look good on the ice, they're confusing as hell to watch when the players change direction, and they have me actually wondering if they might be affecting the players as well - Buffalo's passing was absolutely horrendous to start the game. We'll have more from around the web later on the third jerseys.
2. - the prettiest goal
3. - the prettiest wide-open miss, and an assist
Comment of the Game
In relation to Steve Ott and his captain's patch, which is on top of the shoulder:
Give the guy a break. Okay, so he can’t figure out where to sew his captain’s patch, but look at Alfredsson – idiot places his ‘A’ on the right hand side, as far away from his heart as possible. Moron.
- Spezzal Teams Playa
And putting on top of the shoulder gets it closer to...God?