In 6 of their last 8 games, and 10 of their last 16, games played by the Buffalo Sabres have been decided by one goal.
As the Sabres visited the Washington Capitals in an afternoon game today, the results were similar – a 2-1 shootout win by Buffalo, giving me a nice birthday present!
Ryan Miller stole the show, as usual, stopping 28 of 29 shots, as well as each shot in OT. Miller made a highlight reel, game-saving stop with 2 minutes to go, denying an attempt on a wide-open net with the very edge of his stickblade. If he is not Team USA’s starting goalie in the upcoming Olympics, it will be a crime.
Cody Hodgson made a nice return from injury, nabbing an assist on the Sabres only regulation goal, then netting a beauty with the overtime winner. I am still hoping that he can develop into the number one center that Buffalo has sorely missed since the free agency nightmare of 2007.
Players whom I felt didn’t perform well last game (Linus Omark, Matt D’Agostini, and Alex Sulzer) stepped up with better contributions against the Caps. Sulzer and D’Agostini seemed to always be around the puck, and Omark rifled a laser off the post in regulation. Omark also made a nifty shootout move, but couldn’t convert it.
Shockingly, tonight’s win was the first road victory for Ted Nolan since the 90′s! Good for him. I think Nolan has done an excellent job steadying a rocky ship since stepping in, and has gotten a mediocre lineup to be competitive in almost every game in the last month – as exemplified by the stat that I mentioned to begin this article.
One move that I do not agree with – the Sabres attempting to send Mikhail Grigorenko back the QMJHL. Sure, he may not be NHL-ready, but he also has nothing left to prove in the ‘Q.’ You would also have a hard time convincing me that the Sabres are currently icing 12 forwards that are all better than Grigs. If he is a potential part of the Sabres future, and some current players are not in their plans, by all means – give him some ice time and let him learn.