The saying goes, “you win some, you lose some.”
For the Buffalo Sabres this season, it has been more like “you win few, and lose most.” For those of you still optimistic in Sabreland, you are in luck! Buffalo trumped the lowly Florida Panthers tonight, 3-1. The win pushes the team out of the basement of the NHL, into a solid 28th out of 30!
The shining light of the game was provided by the young kids of the Sabres. Rasmus Ristolainen found his first NHL goal. Cody Hodgson contributed a solid overall game. A line featuring Tyler Ennis, Johan Larsson, and Zemgus Girgensons was energetic, providing a spark and generating offensive opportunities. Nikita Zadorov continued his pursuit of becoming a future fan-favorite. Jhonas Enroth stopped an astounding 44 of 45 shots.
The Sabres were slow out of the gate, and picked up momentum as the game progressed. Unfortunately, they were badly outshot, again, this time by a 45-21 margin. On most nights, as it has already been this season, that lopsided stat will result in a loss – so, the Sabres were fortunate to come out with the win tonight. Enroth was phenomenal at limiting rebound chances, and the Panthers were inept at making the most of their shots.
The bad…Thomas Vanek was a floater, again. Watching him play, it looks like he has already relegated himself to thinking that his remaining time with Buffalo is just a waste. We watched Vanek go from a one-dimension player early in his career, and blossom into a fairly decent two-way player in recent years, sprinkled with flashes of a player who could be a superstar. This years Vanek gets his points here and there, but his effort has been nearly non-existent.
Also, Drew Stafford continues to be terrible. If this is the best that he can do, we have seen enough. The Sabres at this point would be better off just benching him, and putting yet another kid on the ice to get some NHL experience. A flailing-arm-inflatable-tube-man would be equally as effective on the ice, and probably more interesting to watch.