The Sabres took a 1-0 lead into the 3rd period, but a miscue by Steve Ott led to the Washington Capitals tying the game. It would be easy to make Ott a game goat for the folly, but he played a solid game for Buffalo, bringing a high level of physicality and dishing out plenty of hits. Ott also assisted on a Drew Stafford goal. Redemption came for Ott when he scored a beautiful goal for the OT winner.
I continue to be impressed by the improved play of Stafford. He only has 4 goals on the year, but Stafford is visibly better under coach Ted Nolan, instead of being the terrible player that he was for the past couple of seasons. With the right cast, and these types of efforts, he is easily a 2nd line winger in the NHL. The only issue that remains with Stafford, is his lack of burying more chances – which is team-wide plague for most of the current Sabres roster.
Zemgus Girgensons continued his solid play against the Caps. With only a couple dozen games of NHL experience, I am looking forward to seeing what happens when he hits his next stage of growth and experience. Girgensons is looking potentially like the best draft pick the Sabres have made in the last decade.
Don’t you wish there was a Winter Olympics every 2 years, just so we could see more dominant seasons from Ryan Miller? Although the Sabres defensive play is vastly improved since the beginning of the season, they had plenty of lapses against Washington, and Miller was there to cover up their mistakes. Miller stood on his head when he needed to. In his last 5 games, Miller has around a .950 save percentage, and stopped 49 of 50 shots in the game tonight, and stopped all 6 Caps shooters in the shootout.
I am loving the new and improved efforts of the Sabres, and the hard-work that they have been putting in under Nolan. The team is now watchable, and I am finally yelling at my television again. The only issue that I have with the team, is the lack of finishers. Buffalo has plenty of players that can make plays, possess the puck, and generate chances…but there is a deficit of players that can put the puck away. Hopefully a couple players can step up, such as Linus Omark and Matt Moulson, and become reliable scorers for the Sabres.