Buffalo Sabres Three Stars Vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Man Ted Nolan has the Buffalo Sabres skating hard! The Sabres- as usual- got off to a very slow start and fell behind by two, but unlike when Ron Rolston was in charge they battled hard right until Ville Leino‘s backbreaking penalty in the final minutes. The effort of the Buffalo Sabres has certainly been better the last two games and it’s refreshing to see them not quitting before the game is over.

There will be a lot of close games in which this young team drops, but there is no excuse for not skating hard right to the final buzzer and Nolan has them doing that. Now to the Buffalo Sabres three stars from tonight’s affair.

First Star- Tyler Ennis

Tyler Ennis has been set free and he is playing like it. The speedy Ennis is playing as if he was shot out of a cannon, he’s flying all over the ice and working harder than ever and as a result ended up on the scoreboard tonight. The last two games have arguably been Ennis’ best of the season and tonight he scored the 2nd goal to bring the Sabres back within one goal.

Nolan seems to be trusting more and more players with bigger roles and just letting them play their game, Ennis is playing with great confidence and generating tons of offence alongside Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson. Hopefully Ennis will continue this effort and he will turn into a solid player for the Sabres this season.

Second Star- Steve Ott

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone can relax now, Steve Ott is back to playing the game that made everyone fall in love with him and earned him the C. He’s hitting people, being aggressive and generating offence. In short, he’s become a pest to play against once again. He didn’t get on the scoreboard tonight but still had an impact on the game.

Ott stepped up by fighting David Clarkson to stand up for McBain and energize the Sabres. He played like a leader tonight and is the type of guy who can get the rest of the team going. If Ott continues to play like this he will either land a solid return at the trade deadline or will stick with the Sabres long term.

Third Star- Jamie McBain

McBain has been a quiet guy on the blueline this season, he just goes along playing strong defence without causing much of stir. Tonight he caused a stir by scoring the Buffalo Sabres first goal and getting the team back in the game when they were down 3-0. In addition to his goal McBain lead all Sabres defencemen in ice time with just over 21 minutes on the night. Nolan seems to trust McBain and he will likely continue to be utilized in the coming weeks.

Honourable mention goes to Zemgus Girgensons who is going to be an absolute beast in a couple seasons and Drew Stafford, who once again imitated a real hockey player tonight with his play on the 2nd PP unit and 5 hits.

While the Sabres didn’t rack up a W tonight and had their two-game win streak snapped, they played a solid game and are showing signs of improvement. They’re not going to win a lot but they are going to give it their all every night.

Topics: 3 Stars, Buffalo Sabres

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  • Wayne

    I was impressed with the effort in the last period. I think we all realize the 1st period was horrible. The overall play from the Sabres was an improvement as far as the will or the want to win in situations like this earlier in the season. The first Sabres game I can remember watching was around 1974. I don’t remember any other season where the officials determine who plays and who doesn’t as much as this season (john Scott). Lets put sun dresses on every skill player and call them off limits. I am sure this will bring in fans from other sports which are much more civilized. Tap into the adrenaline junkie golf crowd.

    • Jes

      I know it was total BS when Scott got tossed he did absolutely nothing. Orr and Phaneuf on the other side?

      • Wayne

        Absolutely, I think Bettman is looking for something like curling without the brooms.

        • Jes

          It’s really been the NHL vs Buffalo with these types of calls. As far as I can remember we are the team that gets screwed around the most at the most crucial times of the game(Game 7, Phantom goal etc…).

          • Caitlin Campbell

            yeah Scott was tossed purely on reputation

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Scott was tossed purely based on reputation. That whole situation was Phaneufs fault as he ducked what was a good clean hit from Scott and then got up and drilled McCormick with a cross-check to the shoulder. If anyone should have been kicked out it’s Phaneuf for stating it

  • Jes

    1st Star – Steve Ott – Pat Lafontaine get this guy resigned ASAP!!!!!
    2nd Star – Tyler Ennis – Has stepped since Nolan took over.
    3rd Star – Jamie McBain – I personally don’t like the guy and hope he’s gone come deadline day. But you got to give credit when credit is due.

    I don’t know about that Safford part, yes he’s been playing well but he in no way deserves a honorable mention in the top 3 tonight IMO. Most of his success today came on that first PP he was on where he just kept blasting shots otherwise he was not much of a factor.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I agree Jes, personally I’m not a McBain fan and haven’t been impressed but he had a decent night. Fair enough about Stafford… would definitely like to see more out of him

    • Vic Soga

      Yes, I do not like McBain either. Earlier he missed that one timer in the deep slot and he can’t hit the net on the PP. But maybe he was told to miss since we don’t have anyone in front of the net.
      Why don’t we put Scott in front of the net on the PP? He would certainly raise hell plus he could tell Reimer he will kill him like Kessel.
      Scott with Hodgson on left wing and Moulson on right side. Second unit, Myers in front with Stafford on the left and Ennis on the right.

  • Vic Soga

    C.C. You are right about the three stars. It appears from the times, Ted Nolan is going with veterans and not the young guys. I wonder what he is going to do with Grigorenko and Zadorov? Will he send them back to Junior and have them play for Russia at the World Junior? Will Larsson be sent back to Rochester? When Weber comes back, will Risto sit?

    • Jes

      Weber’s a hard worker so knowing Nolan he will be a regular. But he does suck lol. The defenseman I’d sit when he comes back is McBain.
      have no idea why Nolan’s not playing the kids? If they’re just gonna sit there send them down to the minors. Grigorenko and Zadorov back to juniors and Larsson to the AHL. And Grigorenko honestly played great his last 2-3 games it was a shame to take him out. Maybe it’s just time to shake things up throw him in a trade or something. Doesn’t seem like he’s going to get his fair shot here. Zadorov is a guarantee send down, why waste his entry level contract? Plus we have a plethora of NHL ready defensemen. Larsson I really thought should’ve just been a “call-up guy” this season. Still has 0 goals has even though he’s been given good line mates to produce with.

      Quick question does Nolan hate Russians? LOL

      • Vic Soga

        Nolan hate Russians and Europeans??? So we can assume Don Cherry will be the next General Manager.
        Who will be the call up guys from AHL? McNabb, Adam???
        Jes and CC, don’t you guys sleep?

        • Caitlin Campbell

          hahah couldn’t sleep last night was watching GSP defend his title :p They have to call up Adam at some point he’s kicking butt

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I bet we’ll see Zadorov back in junior… If Nolan isn’t going to play him there is not point in wasting him

  • chas territo

    They play hard for Nolan? How hard is hard? 1 1/2 periods of hard is not hard! It seems like the same old crap they have been doing for what seems like forever! How many games do they start listless? Before we can say they played hard, it HAS to be a full 3 periods of hockey!! I have a very hard time watching this version of what is called a Professional Hockey team! I’m sorry to say that, not, but it is how I feel.