Ed Note: This is ScorpDigi (aka Andrew's) first article with us. Congratulations and welcome!
Depending on who you are, either Buffalo blew the game by giving up a goal with only 3 minutes left, or preserved your McEichel hopes for another day, as the Sabres dropped this one 4-3. While the Arizona Coyotes are playing so terrible that they should be investigated for throwing games, Anders Lindback and Sabres coach Ted Nolan are clearly not "tanking." Lindback may not have had the best game in the world tonight, but he made 35 saves, many of them quality ones, especially in the 1st period when Buffalo was giving up more shots than an open bar at a wedding reception.
Shame on former Sabres bench boss Lindy Ruff for not obliging us all with the Jhonas Enroth-Anders Lindback goalie showdown that we have all been highly anticipating. Good ol' Lindy looked like he might blow a forehead vein for most of the game, as Buffalo kept things close until the end.
How about Mikhail Grigorenko? This guy, for the first half of the game, was playing some of the best hockey that I have seen him play yet. He out-battled Cody Eakin and Jamie Benn for a loose puck in the first period, and his effort led to the Sabres first goal. He continued attracting the puck and creating plays, but seemed to vanish later on in the night.
If you would have told me one year ago that Mike Weber would be on the top defensive pairing for the Buffalo Sabres, and that Johan Larsson would be the top line center, I likely would have slapped you in the face and walked away without saying a word.
However, while it's obvious that Johan Larsson is not a true number one NHL center, but he has been voracious with the opportunity that he has been handed. Matched with Tyler Ennis, these two have been speedy and creative, knocking opponents on their heels with an exciting element of surprise and deception. Imagine this guy, playing at this compete level, centering a 3rd or 4th line on a roster that is solidified at the top two lines.
Jamie Benn scored the first two Dallas goals and finished with eight of Dallas' 39 shots, a team high. Speaking of Benn, am I the only one that thinks he looks like a 15-year old that just had his braces removed?
Lastly, I would like to confess how scared I am for the next game against Arizona. As I stated earlier, the 'Yotes are playing some of the most absurdly awful hockey that I have seen in recent years. While the Sabres may be devoid of talent, Nolan has them skating and working hard, which leads to close games like the one tonight. It leads to lucky bounces, it leads to wins. This suffering that us fans have endured this season is all for nothing if we do not get Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. With how bad the Arizona Coyotes are right now, mixed with the efforts of the current Sabres roster, it will be tough watching this next game between the two tankiest teams on Thursday.