Coming in to last night's game, the Buffalo Sabres were playing the second game of a back-to-back series three time zones from home, and the Canucks hadn't won a game in their last five attempts. Both teams were ripe for an egg, and it was the Sabres who laid a big one, falling to the Canucks last night 5-2.
Radim Vrbata ended up beating Buffalo all by himself, as his hat trick powered much of the Canucks offense. After Brian Gionta opened the scoring with a nifty, lacrosse-style goal, Vrbata came back with the next two to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead after the first period, a lead which they would not relinquish the rest of the game.
The Sabres would give up goals to Brandon Prust, his first of the season, and a power play goal to Henrik Sedin before Vrbata would get his third in the third, completing the hat trick. The Sabres did get a third period goal from Sam Reinhart, and with the assist from Ryan O'Reilly, at least the Sabres top line continued to produce. But two iffy penalties by Evander Kane in the second period stymied any momentum the Sabres might have had and led to Sedin's goal.
Ryan Miller stopped 32 of 34 Sabres shots to earn the win over his former team, while Linus Ullmark looked every bit the young goalie this game, flopping around in the crease and giving up all five Vancouver goals on 31 shots.
This was a disappointing effort from the Sabres, but with the way their schedule this week was set up, it was one you could see coming. How they respond in their next game against a very poor Calgary team on Thursday night will be far more telling of this team's potential than last night's tired effort.