Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Knee-Jerk Reaction: Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators

It took ten rounds of a shootout, but the Buffalo Sabres were finally able to walk away with a win tonight over the Ottawa Senators, taking home a 2-1 victory.

Overall, tonight’s game worked out decently for the Sabres. Everyone will be quick to point out the no-goal call in the second period, but let’s focus on the other aspects of the game first.

The Sabres weren’t outshot tonight – in fact, they tied with the Senators, at 36 shots apiece. Although they allowed the Sens to get the first goal, eventually…. they overcame that. Forward Zemgus Girgensons had his second goal in as many games after going the previous 27 games without a goal.

Ryan Miller also managed to stop 35 of 36 shots faced in 64:23 ice time and stopped 7 of 10 Ottawa players in the shootout.

One thing that a lot of people will be talking about: the no-goal call at the 15:30 mark of the second period. It had appeared that goaltender Robin Lehner had put the puck in his own net, giving the Buffalo Sabres the lead; however, this was called a no-goal as a delayed penalty had been called on Ottawa’s Jason Spezza.

Did they make the right call? What do you think?

In the end – the Sabres still won and walked away with two points tonight. Yes, it took a little longer, and yes, the Senators still managed to grab a point… but in the end, Buffalo got the two points.

Other moments from tonight’s game that might get you thinking include the shot block by Tyler Myers in the third period. The defenseman took a puck to what appeared to be the throat or jaw area and fell to the ice. He was able to get up under his own power, but blocking a shot that hard is bound to leave some sort of mark – so keep an eye out for any updates on his condition.

The shootout. Let’s talk about the shootout.

Some of the goals were downright soft; others were better. I was surprised to see Ted Nolan put Matt D’Agostini in before some of the other players, and was pleasantly surprised when Brian Flynn scored on his first ever career shootout attempt. (I was equally surprised when Senators forward Cory Conacher – who attended college in Buffalo – didn’t score on HIS first NHL shootout attempt.)

Later in the shootout, I was reminded that former Sabres player Clarke MacArthur is now on the Senators, a fact I had almost completely forgotten about as the night went on. Waiting for him to shoot, all I could think of was – man, this is it. He’s going to score, and the curse of former Sabres players coming back to haunt us is going to continue. But hey, look! He didn’t score, and didn’t win the game for the Senators…. and then Zemgus Girgensons scored for Buffalo, the last Sens shooter missed, and the Sabres won.

Pleasant surprises all around.

One thing I’ll leave you all with: yes, tonight, Zemgus Girgensons got the first star, with a goal and then a goal in the shootout that would be the game-winner. And yes, he scored in the last game before tonight… but prior to that, he hadn’t scored in 27 games – so don’t be so quick to call him the “savior” of the Buffalo Sabres just yet. Give it time and we’ll see.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres

  • Jes

    Exactly what I’ve been saying Melissa way to early to name him a savior or beast and so on and so forth. I still think he needs time in the AHL to be honest with you. But whatever he seems to be performing better but only really noticeable the last two games.

    • Justin Tosczak

      Girgensons is a beast. He is one of the hardest working guys in the league and he is 19.

      You cannot only describe a player as being good by how many points he puts up.. so maybe calling him the savior is farfetched, if his attitude resonates through the other players on the team, (see Ennis), and people start playing with passion and he can light a fire under some of the guys then he is a very large piece of what one would call “the savior”

      • Jes

        Getting goals and points is a major factor in labelling a player. He’s a beast by sure size and power but other then that he’s a no one right now. Saviours are your Crosby’s and Kane’s not your Lucic’s. You got to give him more time before you start labelling him beast or saviour. He’s an awesome player but you guys are getting way ahead of yourselves right now this is just his first year. Remember all that excitement behind Grigorenko?

        He will end up being a beast in the future but right now he’s just another rookie playing his minutes.

        • Justin Tosczak

          So by your logic, if we pulled off the fantastic deal for Crosby, and traded Miller, straight across (which we know wouldn’t happen), we would be saved.

          Sorry, but I strongly disagree, I think the savior is not just one player, it is changing the team mentality from a weak, lazy, losing culture; to a high paced, accountable, winning attitude type of team.

          And you are absolutely wrong if you don’t think a Lucic is arguably the best player on the team. He is a savior for that team.. way more than Iginla and Jagr (who are both 50+ point guys)

          And when you look around the league, (Landeskog, Getzlaf, Brown) there are power forwards all over the league that are being game changers/saviors for those teams… So when assessing a player, I think points are kinda important, but not as important as attitude and ethic.

          Lastly, about Grigorenko. You have been his biggest supporter from the start, so I understand if your sour that your favorite rookie has been playing poorly and my favourite from the start has been playing awesome, but give credit where credit is due. Girgensons has been arguably the best forward for Buffalo ALL YEAR. Not just the last two games. He is everywhere on the ice.. even if he doesn’t score, he is making the right plays to benefit the team. – I am not trying to take a shot at you, but you were constantly saying play Grigorenko more, but when it comes to Z your saying “meh, whatever” … I just do not understand

          • Jes

            Actually yes Crosby for Miller would easily save us. Guaranteed it’d give us more wins. Especially on a team with no offense to have a guy like Crosby on this team. Imagine the money he’d bring in? He’d easily save the franchise both on and off the ice.

            With your theory everybody who’s anybody on a team is a saviour on a team.

            I’d put Chara, Bergeron, Tim Thomas and Rask ahead of Lucic.

            Your comparing Girgensons to Getzlaf, Landeskog and Brown? Girgensons doesn’t even belong in the same sentence as those guys right now. He may catch Brown and Landeskog one day but Getzlaf? Your crazy for even comparing the two.

            Lastly I love Girgensons but I’m just saying you guys are getting so excited for a guy just in year one. Exactly the way we were about Grigorenko. I had Grigorenko ahead of Girgensons like many people at the beginning so I’m not to pissed at that. I had Girgensons as #2 on the rookies most likely to succeed couple years ago. So I’m not saying he wont be a saviour I’m just saying he is far off from that right now.

          • Justin Tosczak

            Crosby would come here now and lose his mind. The Sabres are so out of whack right now as a franchise that one player is not going to change the world like that, I am sorry. You are right that he would bring more wins, but if there is no accountability for him to put up 90+ points a season, he probably won’t. Even though Crosby is awesome, he is part of a winning team. He is a big piece of the puzzle.

            My logic is that it isn’t just one player that saves or makes a franchise.

            Aside from Carolina, every team in the last like 15 years has been a huge franchise with good players, yes. But more importantly, lines that all contributed, played hard, and did their job… Why do you think the same teams continue to win, even when they do trade their best players? (See Thornton, Gretzky, Jagr) It is because of the mentality of the team, and players like Girgensons can literally change a teams mentality I think. I have seen it displayed on the ice, and I think that is very impressive for 19.

            I hate Lucic as much as the next guy, but I think he is one of the first guys everyone thinks of when they think of Boston of this era, and I think that describes him as a “beast” or whatever you want to call him.

            I am not sitting here trying to say Girgensons is our savior and we are going to be the next Detroit or anything.. But I am saying that if the team picks up what he is putting down, then we would definitely start to develop the winning type of attitude we need.

  • JHizzle75

    There was no possession on the delayed penalty, therefore the goal should have counted. It touched the goalie and a couple of sticks, but there was nowhere near any possession on Ottawa’s part.
    Yes , the same thought went through my head when Clarke was about to shoot. Lol. Another burn from an ex-Sabre! Nice move from Girgs, looked really smooth and calm. Jes, I think Girgs had been good all year, not just recently.

  • Timothy Redinger

    Refs consider to call possession in this case where forward movement of the puck happens. I don’t like it but it is along the lines of the intent to blow the whistle ruling.

  • davidmuscalo

    Its a win. There isn’t much more you can say about it.

  • Johntrice Smith

    Nice to see Brayden McNabb doing so well also. I wish I could fast forward a couple of years and see a Sabres defense made up of Myers, McNabb, Zadarov, McCabe, Ristolainen and Pysyk. I’ve seen some of these guys play in the “O” and later in Rochester and it’s fun to see them progress.