Game One is in the books and it ended in great fashion: the Flyers were 0-for-5 on the power play (including a 5-on-3), Pat Kaleta is under the skin of the Flyers like a dug in tick (nothing pesters teams more than a pest that scores), and Philly fans booed their 2nd place in the Conference, division winning Flyers off the ice. Mission: accomplished.
- Right off the bat, why was James van Riemsdyk named the first star of the game? It’s so minor a point I feel dumb bringing it up, but Ryan Miller posted a 35 save shutout and a good number of those saves took skill to make. Sergei Bobrovsky had his fair share of great saves, Pat Kaleta scored the lone goal in between lining up thundering hits (including a nasty open-ice hit), and Danny Briere and Paul Gaustad each had dominant nights. van Riemsdyk was good…but he basically got first star for taking six shots on goal.
- The Sabres’ lone power play looked awful, but that’s not as bad as failing to score on 5 power plays.
- Steve Montador had a terrible game. The Sabres need more out of their most veteran defenseman.
- The Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta line was by far the best line for the Sabres, and it’s fitting that they were rewarded with the game winner.
- If you’re wearing orange, don’t get close to Mike Grier. He will drop you.
- Bobrovsky looked solid in net, but the Sabres didn’t test him much until the second period when he had a chance to get comfy. Regardless of what happens next game, they have to jump all over this kid when he comes up to Buffalo. Get him pulled (which with Peter Laviolette coaching isn’t hard to imagine).
- The refs missed a lot of calls on both sides. The Sabres took more penalties because they did more things wrong, such as Shaone Morrisonn’s ridiculously stupid slash that caused a 5-on-3. The Sabres got away with a few, such as Nathan Gerbe slashing Flyers defenders, while the Flyers got away with a few interference calls. This is fine so long as the refs are consistent…if they want to let them play, let them play for the whole series.
- The two Tyler’s did not want to shoot the puck. Myers had a couple of chances from the point where he opted to dump the puck down behind the net, and Ennis reminded me of Maxim Afinogenov. There comes a point where you just need to throw it at the goalie.
- The Sabres top lines were pretty non-existent, with the weird exception of Tim Connolly. Stafford had a couple of breaks that resulting in him trying to stick handle past Meszaros or Timonen (hint: don’t), Pominville couldn’t get going, Brad Boyes and Ennis tried too many cute passes, and I honestly thought Vanek got injured because I didn’t hear his name for about half an hour straight.
- Chris Butler, Shut Down Defenseman. It’s got a nice ring to it that I never thought I’d hear.
- If Derek Roy heals up and is able to come back in this round, I honestly can’t think of a forward to take out. The third and forth liners were the best forwards on the Sabres (Niedermayer-Grier-McCormick were only outplayed by Gaustad-Kaleta-Gerbe) and there’s no way they should sit Vanek or Pominville. Connolly has been playing some of the best 2 way hockey I’ve ever seen from him, Boyes is solid and has scored in the playoffs before, Stafford scores in bunches and if he hits one of those bunches he could decide the series, and Ennis looks good except for the passing. Roy sits if he gets healthy…whch is fair, because this team got this far without him.
- Well, just about everyone said that Ryan Miller would have to steal a game. There you go. I don’t know if it was the rest, if he healed up from injury, or if it was just straight motivation, but Miller was in as fine of form as any time in his career. They can’t expect that out of him every game, but he definitely gave them the win last night.
That’s all I’ve got for now. See you after Game Two!
Be sure to check out the perspective from Philly over at Broad Street Buzz!
Tags: Brad Boyes Buffalo Buffalo Sabres Cody Mccormick Danny Briere Derek Roy Drew Stafford Eastern Conference Fansided Hockey James Van Riemsdyk Jason Pominville Lindy Ruff Mike Grier NHL Northeast Division Patrick Kaleta Peter Laviolette Philadelphia Flyers Rob Niedermayer Ryan Miller Sabres Sergei Bobrovsky Shaone Morrisonn Shutout Stanley Cup Stanley Cup Playoffs Steve Montador Terry Pegula Thomas Vanek Tim Connolly Tyler Ennis Tyler Myers