The Buffalo Sabres looked every bit the 30th place team last night during the first period against the Detroit Red Wings. They spotted the Wings three easy goals in the first 16 minuets, and for a team with the worst offense in the NHL, that's just not a good idea.
Buffalo fought back valiantly, but couldn't overcome that initial deficit, falling 3-2 to the Red Wings last night. Matt Hackett looked very shaky in the first period, giving up three goals on just twelve shots, but settled in nicely and shut out the Detroit offense in the second and third periods. He impressed his head coach after the game, with Nolan saying, "That was a big game for Matt, especially after the first period and the way he fought back and the way he battled back, and that’s what we want to see with the team moving forward, see who’s going to battle, who’s going to compete and it was a good thing down 3-0, the easy thing to do is probably put Lieuwen in, but we wanted to see how he battled and he battled well."
The Sabres got goals from Jamie McBain and Nicolas Deslauriers in the second and third periods respectively, and both goals saw a couple firsts - Chad Ruhwedel scored his first NHL point with an assist on McBain's goal, while Nicolas Deslauriers, who just returned to the team after seeing the birth of his daughter, scored his first NHL goal in the third period with a nice snap shot that got past Jimmy Howard. Quite a week for the 23-year old rookie.
With many of their veterans on the shelf with injuries, the Sabres youngsters played well for them - along with the aforementioned Hackett settling-in, Deslauriers goal and Ruhwedel assist, Johan Larsson also got on the score sheet by assisting on Deslauriers' goal, and Rasmus Ristolainen played top minutes with Christian Ehrhoff and both defensemen finished with the team's best possession numbers. Jake McCabe and Chad Ruhwedel also were a decent pair together, and finished with much better +/- and Corsi numbers than Tank and Dozer, aka Mike Weber and Jamie McBain.
It's great to see the young players step in and perform, and they'll likely need to do so for the rest of the year, as injuries to Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno may (the team's not sure yet) keep them out for the rest of the season.
1. Can anyone other than Hodgson, Ennis, or Stafford help out in the offensive end?
Speak, and you shall receive in the form of goals from Jamie McBain and Nicolas Deslauriers. His goal was the first of Deslauriers' career, while McBain's was his first in the defenseman's last six games. Chad Ruhwedel finally earned his first point as well.
2. Don't look now, but Ville Leino is starting to look like a competent hockey player. Can he do anything to help his rocket-like ascent up the depth chart continue?
Leino continued his assist streak by setting up McBain's goal, and now has three helpers in his last three games. However, while he did actually record a shot on goal, he was only 36% on faceoffs and was one of the worst forwards in Corsi last night. So a bit of good, a bit of regular Leino.
3. Can the Sabres get through one game without another injury?
Almost - Luke Adam took a puck to the teeth in the first period, but after bleeding all over the ice, came back to start the second. Other than that, it looks like the Sabres got out unscathed.
1. Darren Helm - 1g
2. Danny DeKeyser - 2a
3. Luke Adam - no points, but earns credit for coming back after taking a puck to the mouth
Comment of the Game
That was a nice shot
If McBain wasn’t a complete trainwreck on defense he might be a pretty good defenseman.
You can't always have everything you want.