Sep 21, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Zemgus Girgensons (28) plays the puck after getting upended during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres – Ottawa Senators: Knee Jerk Reactions

Buffalo Sabres fan showed up to the First Niagara Center tonight expecting to see a Sabres-Senators game.

Instead, they were treated to the USA Olympic Team goalie tryouts.

Oct 4, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris (7) dives for the puck in front of Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) during the first period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Miller and Craig Anderson put on a goaltending extravaganza in the 716, stopping shot after shot and constantly one-upping each other in terms of who could make the most jaw-dropping save of the evening.

When it was all said and done, Anderson and the Ottawa Senators had prevailed 1-0 over the home team, but unlike last year when a slew of one-goal losses left Sabres fans feeling as if their team had missed a golden opportunity, fans of the blue and gold don’t have much, if anything, to complain about following this defeat.

Was this a perfect game?  Nope.  Each team displayed some carelessness with the puck, and made some bad turnovers that created high quality scoring chances for the other side.  Once again, the Sabres went oh-fer on the power play, a disturbing trend that has carried over from last year and is going to result in a lot of “close, but no cigar” results for these young Sabres.

You know what, though?  These Sabres played their hearts out all night long, and to quote one of my favorite bands – Metallica – “Nothing else matters.”  As opposed to Wednesday night’s game in Detroit, when certain  players on the Sabres’ roster looked as if they had about 99 better things they would have rather been doing, I cannot find fault with the desire and effort of anyone dressed in blue and gold tonight.  Sabres players were flying around the ice all night long, squeezing off shots left and right and making up for mistakes they committed with hustle back on defense.  I have to believe that having a perpetual motion machine like Zemgus

Girgensons playing for them lights a fire under so many of the Sabres’ butts – how could his teammates NOT want to give 100% when he is wreaking havoc all over the ice?  If you’re not excited about the idea of watching Girgensons play, check your pulse: your term has expired.

And Ryan Miller: bravo.  You have faced 34+46 = 80 shots in two games, and stopped all but three of them.  A team as young as the one you currently play for needs you to be a rock every time you take the ice, and so far, you have been.  Eventually, these young pups are going to figure out a way to steal a few of these close games, so keep doing what you’re doing in order to give them more chances like tonight.

When is a loss nothing to be upset about?  Tonight.  If these Sabres play like this all season long, even if they continue to come up short and fail to make the playoffs, Sabres fans will be entertained and excited about the future, which is all any of us can ask for right now.   Hope you enjoyed it, and come back for our more comprehensive game recap later tonight!

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Ottawa Senators

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  • Jes

    Playing there hearts out and Nothing else matters? I dunno about that Rich, I’m 100% sure wins matter. Actually in the business of pro sports I believe that’s the biggest thing that matters.

    PP was not good again, I wonder how many games it’s going to take for us to get that first PP goal. But all in all everyone showed up even Stafford did, which was nice to finally see. Larsson played much better than Leino has ever played in a Sabres uniform.

    • Richard Spalding

      I didn’t say winning doesn’t matter – are you nuts? :D

      In a game like this, however, where either side could have won and the goalies play out of their minds, all you can ask is that your team hustles and fights. The Sabres did; Anderson and Miller were just dominant. You tip your hats to the other team and move on to the next game.

      As for the PP – unsuccessful doesn’t equal not good. They actually took shots tonight and went after rebounds. I’m far more satisfied with their special teams effort tonight than I was Wednesday.

  • Benjamin M Taylor

    Out with the old, in with the new. It’s apparent that Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford don’t have much to offer us. Vanek looked slow and tired. Stafford played tonight like he should play every night: but why isn’t he? The young crew looks a year or two away from developing some real chemistry, and the more we let the veterans play, the less the young guys get the opportunity to develop. I say get rid of everything (Vanek, Stafford, Leino (buyout) let Ott walk if he demands a high price) and try to convince Miller to stay long term (see ‘Lundquist contract dispute’). Kaleta will always come cheap and is loyal to Buffalo, so let him stay. Ennis is still a work in progress, both him and Hodgson need decent support to perform like they are capable. This isn’t our year, but things are looking up! Girgensons was a monster tonight. Larsson: super impressive. If we can stay in the cellar this year and stack up some draft picks with that and trades, we’ll be contending in 3-4 years. I have hope, just not this year….

    • Richard Spalding

      Fire sale! Why not? The youngsters are impressive, and eventually their fire is going to stop being enough to motivate someone like Stafford (who should have been gone last season, any way). I’m not even sure we need to convince Miller to stay, with Hackett in the wings. Yes, Miller has been great through two games . . . let’s see how consistent he plays before I advocate for him!

  • JerrySabresFan

    Fun game. But on a complete side note: I was astounded(and a little frustrated) to hear fans booing Myers on the opening night roster roll call. I totally understand that a lot of us are disappointed that he hasn’t evolved to the elite status we had hoped for, but FFS have a little class.

    I’ve been enjoying your posts over the past few months Rich. Thank you.

    • Richard Spalding

      Thanks for the comments, sir! I think Myers is going to have a solid year; sadly, I don’t think he will ever be as great as everyone hoped he would be, but that doesn’t mean he cannot help this team win games, so I agree with you: the booing is uncalled for, and makes our fans look classless.

      • Kevin

        Fans expectation are always going to be too high anyway. It’s just like at work the more you do, the more the bosses expect you to do. Well he has to live by that after showing off that first season. Every player has a good season and then fans think they can do it every season. It comes with the territory. I think Myers even struggled with that very concept in his 2nd season as any player would after a good to great first season. They don’t call it “Sophomore Slump” for nothing. I agree Rich, I think he will have a Solid year, nothing fancy, just solid. I hope it’s enough to get the bad taste out of the fans mouth. It’s starting to work on mine.