Buffalo Sabres – New York Islanders Knee Jerk Reactions

Oct 15, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres celebrate the win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Buffalo won 4-3 in shootout. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports Buffalo Sabre

Now that’s a bit more like it!

In a game that was very reminiscent of the shoutout at the Goalie Corral – aka, the Buffalo Sabres’ first home game against the Ottawa Senators – the boys in blue and gold found themselves in an up-and-down affair in Long Island tonight.

The difference?  The Sabres won, baby!    In a shootout on the road, after falling behind three times, no less.

Whew!

Right from the start of this game,you could tell this was going to be a back-and forth affair.  Yes, the Islanders put their speed to use early on, resulting in a first period goal by Frans Nielsen.  And yes, I was tempted to yell, “Here we go again!” once the Sabres fell into that early 1-goal deficit.  Buffalo showed some promising signs in the first 20 minutes, but again, found themselves living in their end of the ice a few too many times during the frame and were lucky to find themselves just down one.  Ryan Miller to the rescue, again.

The Sabres came out extremely focused and energetic in the second period, reminding me of their third period effort against the Chicago Blackhawks this past Saturday.  Leading the charge?  I almost didn’t believe it when I saw it, but at 8:11 tonight I Tweeted

 

Lo and behold, I was back on Twitter two minutes later with this:

The Tyler EnnisDrew StaffordMarcus Foligno line was gangbusters all night long, and Ennis’ goal was a great example of the “No quit” mentality that this line displayed all night.  Just when it seemed like Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov had control of the puck, Ennis spotted the biscuit leaking out behind Nabokov and pounced on it before any of the Islanders could react.  Ennis has been trying to prove me wrong ever since I wrote that the Sabres should pass on signing him to a long-term contract once this season ends, so it’s good to see him finally break through and score his first goal of the season.

After the Sabres coughed up the lead shortly after Ennis had tied things up, Thomas Vanek scored a beautiful one timer to give him his team-leading third goal of the season, tying the game at 2-all.   In true Buffalo Sabres fashion, they managed to fall behind yet again after John Tavares scored on the power play, setting the stage for Marcus Foligno‘s late-game heroics:

Overtime came and went in the blink of an eye, and fortune finally favored the Sabres as Vanek and Ennis scored in the shootout to give the Sabres their first win of the season.

The Sabres didn’t play a perfect game, and are relying on their goalies to give them superhuman efforts every single night, which is going to catch up to them eventually.  As imperfect a game as they played, however, you had to be entertained by this contest.  Erasing three separate one-goal deficits has to be a huge confidence boost for this young team, and watching so many veteran players – Vanek, Ennis, Foligno, Christian Ehrhoff, Stafford, even Tyler Myers, to name a few – all show up to play is kind of what we have all been waiting for this year.  I’m sure Ron Rolston would prefer that the Sabres not try to match a speedy team like the Islanders stride for stride, and there was some concern in the Twitterverse that the Sabres might run out of gas in the third, but damn it all if the Sabres didn’t show me something that has been lacking so far this season: heart.

So rejoice, Sabres fans!  The team record for worst start will have at least another year to be broken!  It’s only one win, but it guarantees this team won’t go 0-81-1, so let your hair down and party like it’s 1999!  Sabres win!

 

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders

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  • qwicwted

    I also have to admit that Stafford has been playing balls out the past two games – he’s going to the net which is what he should have been doing the past few years – but tonight he actually was “into” the game. I liked the Foligno-Ennis-Stafford line as well as the Larsson-Girgensons-Flynn line. So I think we are getting or regaining some chemistry out there. Now that Kaleta is gone for 10 games, I hope Rolston continues to play Larsson-Girgensons and Flynn. Maybe Grigorenko can play with McCormick and Porter.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Yeah, the Larsson-Girgensons-Flynn line was creating some pressure, too. They might have generated a goal had Z not been injured. I really like Larsson – he deserves ice time more than Grigorenko, for sure, right now.

  • Jes

    Rich my friend every time a player scored my computer screwed me over and froze lol. The whole shootout was all fuzzed up. Glad to hear we got the win, would have actually loved to get to actually see the win lol. But anyways good on the Blue and Gold for getting there first W of the season. It’s still very early so this team may just finally come together. From what I saw Myers played well, so that is a good sign. I could only get the islanders feed for some reason, is Girgensons injured right now? I know he got hit by the puck in the face didn’t notice if he came back at all.

    Hopefully the Sabres can take this momentum and take down those damn Canucks of Vancouver. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. 8-0 would be satisfactory.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      So what’s your opinions on the Canucks, then? :D

      Girgensons took a slap shot to the side of the face. Ouch. It was a bit scary, but he did skate off on his own. I believe he’ll be okay for Thursday.

  • Kevin

    They did have me worried whether tonight was going to be the night though. They made alot of great plays, did alot of things right that they hadn’t done in the previous games. However, I have a problem with the same guy as I did in the last game. Steve Ott. What the hell was he doing roughing up Travares? Sabres don’t need to take stupid penalties at that point. Turns we got burned. Then Thank you so much Uncle Marcus for saving the day. Great shootout and awesome as always Ryan Miller. And I heard Z is going to be ok. whew!!

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Yeah – Z’s injury was freaky. Bad break for him, but sounds like he’ll be okay. I agree with you: Ott isn’t doing much to impress. Agitating a star player is one thing, but trying to fight him is only going to cause a scrum, and a penalty we don’t need.

  • Benjamin M Taylor

    This is a good sign of things to come. I think we’re moving in the right direction. There will be ups and downs during the course of the season, though. These kids are still learning the system, and as they play other teams, weaknesses will be exposed. I’m glad to see we’re not getting pushed around anymore like years past. And also, DREWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW STAFFORD!!!

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Yeah Drew!