Cody Hodgson came to the Buffalo Sabres in a slump. Pulling on a new uniform and being promoted in the lineup didn’t help him break out of a scoring slump that had him going oh – for naught in the points categories for the Buffalo Sabres.
The young forward used an offensive explosion against Tampa Bay Monday night to get on the scoreboard for the first time as a Buffalo Sabres, and maybe, just maybe the floodgates could open up for the kid at the perfect time for both him and the Buffalo Sabres..
While drawing the ire of the fan base and living up to the number 19 standards that we are use to (couldn’t resist a Tim Connolly joke there – it had been awhile, yes I feel better), Hodgson broke out of the shell tonight and score two of the teams three goals as Ryan Miller and company shutout the Montreal Canadiens.
In a game of poor officiating; the Buffalo Sabres controlled the play after the first period, and with Ryan Miller at Vezina/Olympic caliber, the last place Montreal Canadiens didn’t stand much chance. In an effort to open things up late and get on the board, Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth pulled Carey Price with almost five minutes to play, hoping to spark a last minute come back, similar to what happened the last time these two teams faced off. With the finishes against Montreal and Colorado in the final seconds – it could happen against a fragile Sabres team.
Fragile however, is not a word you might find in the locker room at First Niagara Center right now. In a year where we have talked anemic offense for the better part of the season – the Buffalo Sabres offense has scored ten goals in its last two games – and are on pace to finish in a playoff spot, on a similar run as last year, despite being further back in the standings.
The Washington Capitals are the team that the Buffalo Sabres have their sites on. There should be a poster in the walkway from the locker room to the ice with the Caps logo at the heart of a bullseye. Buffalo has eight games remaining, a possible 16 points. It is unlikely that they will win out. The Washington Capitals have nine games remaining, for a possible 18 points. It is also very unlikely that they will win out. In fact, neither team can win out, as they play each other one more time. If the Caps lose their game in hand, and lose to the Buffalo Sabres, things will be looking up for the blue and gold and a berth in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Before the Sabres can think about the Capitals on Tuesday, they face a tough home and home situation this weekend. While they have Thursday off, they will need the momentum from the weeks games as they face the only team to so far clinch a playoff spot mathematically on Friday in the New York Rangers, they face a Minnesota Wild team that is playing spoiler role as they might be too far out of the eighth spot at this point in the season.
Tough games against the Bruins, Penguins, and Flyers stand between the Buffalo Sabres and the end of the regular season, as well as a home and home with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The road is not easy, but with the team playing inspired hockey, they just might be desperate enough to prove their fans wrong by making it happen.
While Ryan Miller being at top form has been key all along, Hodgson has proven to be a disappointment since coming over from Vancouver at the trade deadline. In his first ten games with the Sabres, he had no goals, and no assists – despite some good two way play. His last two games has seen his marks go to 4 for Buffalo in 12 games; two goals and two assists.
While Brady Boyes started his career in Buffalo with a fast two goals; maybe Cody Hodgson taking his time getting his first two means that he will only get better, not come in like a flash and rapidly fizzle to trade bait.