Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Knee Jerk Reactions: Tampa Bay Lightning


With a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, it looks like the Buffalo Sabres may win just enough games to draft outside the top 5 and lose just enough games to miss the playoffs. They don’t make anything easy do they?

Tonight’s game was a lot more exciting than yesterday’s 1-0 win over the Flyers. The Sabres drew first blood and got off to a fast start forcing the Lightning back on their heels. They let Tampa back in the game slightly but Jhonas Enroth stood tall and the Sabres dragged out the victory.

Game Notes

  • Sabres got off to a quick start which was nice to see out-shooting the Lightning 10-7. It was the first time in 12 games the Sabres outshot their opponent in the first period. In addition to outshooting the opposition the Sabres also drew 2 penalties. The Sabres were the quicker and better team in the first.
  • The line of Steve Ott, Brian Flynn and Kevin Porter continue to look good together. They were the best line to for the Sabres throughout the game creating numerous offencive chances and combining for the Sabres third goal.
  • The Sabres appear to have fixed their power play issues. They had 2 power plays in the first and converted on one of them. Not only did they score a power play goal for the first time in 8 games, their power play actually looked like a power play. They were able to setup in the opposition’s zone and moved the puck back and forth with no trouble. They didn’t force shots and looked very calm with the man advantage.
  • Jhonas Enroth had another solid night between the pipes. He faced 33 shots and stopped 32 of them, including a diving save on

    Steven Stamkos. When the Lightning gained momentum Enroth stood strong and shut the door. Has Enroth finally turned the corner to show the Sabres he’s ready to be a starter?

  • Doesn’t appear Thomas Vanek has any confidence in his shot right now. He gets a breakaway and drops the puck for teammates and ends the scoring threat. Vanek is continually opting to pass the puck instead of shooting. He did get a nice assist on Ennis’ goal, but when he’s streaking down the wing he needs to take the shot. He’s the Sabres leading scorer for a reason!
  • Nice to see Tyler Ennis and Jochen Hecht scoring goals tonight. These two haven’t been extremely productive this season, having them score when the first line isn’t is a huge plus.
  • Mike Weber didn’t have the greatest game on the backend tonight. He committed several turnovers, was out-skated numerous times and even had the Lightning goal deflect off him. On the opposite, Weber’s defence partner Chad Ruhwedel had another strong game. In only his second NHL game since signing with the Sabres, Ruhwedel looks confident and strong on the puck.

While it was a convincing win and a huge two points for the boys in blue and gold, it may be too little too late. The Buffalo Sabres are four points back with five games remaining. At least they’ll make it interesting right down to the end.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Knee Jerk NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

  • PaulR

    Vanek is clearly injured. From the way he carries himself, I would say right hip or ribs. He is playing at 50%.

    • Andrew

      That, or maybe he just doesn’t care at this point.

      • http://twitter.com/Hockeylife30 Caitlin Campbell

        Yup I can see either of those theories being correct. He’s been battling injuries all season and there’s no guarentees he’s better now. He may be playing through something, there’s something off about him right now no doubt.

        He was also very upset about the Pominville deal and is likely just counting the days till he can get out of Buffalo.

        • Andrew

          If he really is tanking on purpose, it’s a clear example of what is wrong with this team.

          It also sends a poor message to the younger players, especially with an A on his sweater.