A few nights ago, the Sabres played what was probably their best game of the young season, excelling in all facets of the game en route to a 3-1 win. Tonight, the Sabres didn't have anywhere near their best stuff, yet still managed to earn a 2-1 win thanks to solid defending and being able to take advantage of their few chances in the third period to score.
For much of the game, the Sabres simply looked flat. Not in a 2014 kind of way where they'd get outshot 20-3 but more in the way that they simply couldn't get anything going throughout the first two periods, totaling just 12 shots. The Islanders would open the scoring in the second period thanks to Calvin de Haan's first of the season, but the Sabres would tie the game in the second thanks to former Islanders hero Matt Moulson, who scored his fourth of the season, and earned his fifth point in five games against his old team. Sam Reinhart would score later in the third to earn the 2-1 win.
One of the things that stood out tonight was the play of the Sabres fourth line. David Legwand, Sam Reinhart, and Jamie McGinn provided such a different result from the past few years of having a black hole of AHL/KHL talent on the fourth line, and Reinhart scored the game winning goal (first GWG of his career) on a sweet pass from Legwand on a 2-on-1.
Another thing that stood out tonight was another strong game from Linus Ullmark. He earned his second straight start, and responded with his second straight one goal game, making 29 saves, and thus earned his second straight win. Ullmark has long been considered the team's best prosect in net, and while he'll probably give the starter's job back to Robin Lehner when Lehner returns from injury, he's making a very strong case to take the interim starting gig away from Chad Johnson for the foreseeable future.
The Sabres didn't have their best stuff tonight, yet still won. And maybe it's because we had to sit through two years of garbage hockey to get here, but these small, hard-fought victories feel all the more sweet because of it.
1. Can the Sabres build on what was their best game of the year?
Nope. The Sabres played a pretty low energy game and totaled just 12 shots combined in the first two periods. In fact, the entire game was kind of a snoozer from both sides, until things picked up a bit in the third period.
2. Will John Tavares or Tyler Ennis play?
Tavares did not play, but Tyler Ennis did. Unfortunately, Ennis hardly had an impact on the game despite playing over 20 minutes, not registering a single shot
Comment of the Game
I like the amount of Star Wars in this thread.