This was a roller coaster of a game for Buffalo Sabres fans. From a great start and early goal by Patrick Kaleta, to being hemmed in their zone for 2 minutes and 16 seconds. From a big hit by John Scott that turned the momentum around to a dumb penalty by Scott late in the second period.
As exciting and nerve wracking as tonight’s game was, this is what Sabres fans need to become accustomed to. The Sabres are entering a rebuild and now that Jason Pominville is gone there are going to be lots of changes in Buffalo. With a rebuild comes some poor hockey and until the Sabres are done rebuilding, there’s going to be some rough hockey. Tonight’s game had sparks of brilliance and some rough, rough patches but Sabres battled through and got the win. Have you ever heard of fans cheering when a team gets the puck out?
- The rookie line of Luke Adam, Brian Flynn and Kevin Porter were badly outplayed tonight. They were on for the majority of the 2 minute and 16 second shift the New Jersey Devils had in the first period in which the Sabres couldn’t clear the puck. Porter ended up taking a penalty just to get off the ice and the Devils capitalized. The rookies are solid players who need time to develop, but putting the three of them on a line together is a big mistake.
- The first line for the Buffalo Sabres that started the year off is done. Thomas Vanek is hurt and Jason Pominville is wearing another jersey. Obviously Ron Rolston needs to find a new first line, but why in the world is Nathan Gerbe on the first line? On what other NHL team is he a first line player?
- The best line for the Sabres tonight was the checking/enforcer line of Jochen Hecht, John Scott and Patrick Kaleta. Kaleta scored a goal, laid a big hit and blocked shots- solid game from him.
- John Scott laid a big hit in the second period which motivated the Sabres and changed to momentum. The Sabres capitalized on that hit and scored to go up 2-1. A shift later Scott takes a useless penalty that sends the Devils back on the power play. This epitomizes my love/hate relationship with Scott- he lays big hits but takes stupid penalties and is more of a liability on the ice.
- You can credit the win to the strong play of Ryan Miller. While his days may be numbered, right now he is still a Buffalo Sabre. He made 23 big saves through the first 2 periods and kept the Sabres in the game when they were being out-played. While the playoffs are almost out of reach this is a big offseason for Miller, perhaps he’s treating the last 9 games as a final audition for other teams.
- Steve Ott now has goals in three straight games.
The Sabres certainly tried their hardest to lose the game tonight but Ryan Miller bailed them out. How many times have we heard that story? While it’s a huge 2 points that brings the Sabres to within 4 points of the 8th and final spot, they let the Devils skate away with a valuable point. Is this going to be another season where the Sabres win just enough games to take themselves out of the running for a top 5 pick and fail to make the playoffs?