If you were in the Buffalo Sabres dressing room between the second and third period, the words on the dry erase board – the message from Lindy Ruff to his team, keep things short, keep things simple.
You could tell late in the game that the Buffalo Sabres were the team playing with the back to back disadvantage tonight, as the third period wore on, the Toronto Maple Leafs were taking advantage of long stretches of the ice – but little more than that.
Here is your knee jerk reaction to tonights game, a solid 2-1 win for the Buffalo Sabres, putting them at 2-0 on the season.
Ryan Miller played tonight like he did in the best year of his career. He was focused, he was not distracted. When he got bumped, when things got rough around him, he didn’t lose his cool. He was seeing pucks – and controlling rebounds. The “zen” has possibly returned to his game – which is a huge positive for his game.
Patrick Kaleta is the unsung hero tonight,not making it onto the scoresheet, he did what Pat Kaleta does best – get under the skin of the opponent, and throw them off their game. Guess what, it worked. Kaleta was on the ice in multiple situations – and was never a major liability for the Buffalo Sabres. He erased a possible power play by introducing Phil Kessel to the ice surface; but thats a penalty you want to take – to show teams we won’t be pushed around. A slightly more mature Kaleta even owned the goal during his post game interview.
Penalty Kill was spot on tonight. The bad bounce off the board that gave the Leafs the chance to bring it within one – almost couldn’t be helped. The Sabres let the game get away from them at the end, a timeout when the Frasier goal was called back would have been a wise decision.
Buffalo’s defense played a much better game tonight than the first game of the season, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Leopold looked slightly better tonight. You could notice Alexander Sulzer a little bit more tonight. Tyler Myers didn’t look as out of place – but he still looks like he is playing the game of a man a foot shorter.
Matt Ellis is solid in his role of a temporary fill in, knowing his time is limited however, he shouldnt be trying out a lot more, knowing that he could be a bigger piece on a team that needs more of a journeymen veteran than the Buffalo Sabres. When the time comes, it will be easy for the Buffalo Sabres to slip him through waivers and down to the Rochester Americans.
If your watching the clock on Mikhail Grigorenko‘s National Hockey League tryout – you will see the clock at T-3 Games. He was moving his feet a lot more tonight, and got involved in the play, but I would have loved him to take the lead a little more on the odd man rush he started, he tried passing the puck off, and the play was immediately broken up. With his ice time up slightly more than what it was from yesterday’s game, the Russian prospect was unable to get a host on goal, and was even on the night.
The Buffalo Sabres get a couple of nights off – and then are put right back into a back-to-back hockey situation with a home and home series with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and Friday night.
Stay tuned right here for more constant Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans updates and opinions.