Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Knee Jerk Reactions: Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs

It took him six games in a Buffalo Sabres sweater, but the Mikhail Grigorenko era has finally begun, and it started with a game-tying goal.

When it looked like the Buffalo Sabres were not going to get anything going, the kid put things back in order and brought the game to a 3-3 tie.

The two bottom teams in the Northeast played a wide open affair with plenty of chances, in one of the Buffalo Sabres best outings of hockey so far this season.

The biggest nagging thing that Buffalo has to rectify is their play in the second period.  It again put them in position that they were fighting an up hill battle in the third period.  Even if they play a closer game and don’t get activlty from their powers in the second, they have to stop letting the other team gain control or momentum.

The second nagging thing?  Hold a lead in a tight game longer than two minutes.  That killed them last year, giving up quick goals after you scored them.  Total momentum killer.

Three point games are tough to swallow, especially in a shortened season – but when your on the losing end of a three point game, later in the season that point could mean your life.

Dropping four in a row now we start getting into dangerous territory.  Tonight’s game showed some promise though, as more guys got to the net, and actually put the puck in where it belonged.

While the talk has been lack of offense – and sloppy defense, Ryan Miller has to be stronger.  With no time remaining in overtime, you have to be stronger on the post.  It is that tiny attention to detail that kills teams.  While this is only a regular season game, remember back to the Olympics?  How did Crosby beat Miller – tight along the post.   Make a couple tough saves and the game is in your control.

There is no time to dwell on this however, as they are right back up on Thursday to end the month of January against the hottest teams in Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins.

There were some positive’s to tonight’s tilt, but the negative’s far out weigh the positives.

T.J. Brennan made his presence known and it was good to see the Brennan Blast from the point.

Grigorenko got his first goal of his career, and also got himself some things to work on.  He got caught flat footed, and had a defensive lapse, but kept on going.

The defense was jumping into the play – shown proof positive by Andrej Sekera‘s first goal of the season, and his sixteenth of his career.

Still doubting Jochen Hecht?  He’s not playing timid or scared because of his injuries – and has the intensity of a younger player.  He has definitely been worth the one year deal the Buffalo Sabres lured him back to the NHL with.

Stay tuned, AJ Haller will have a full game recap up later this evening.  And of course, check back tomorrow as the staff here at award the game puck – for the fourth loss in a row.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Game Night Toronto Maple Leafs

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