Jan 12, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) makes a save in front of Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich (21) in the first period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres at Washington Capitals: Reactions

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.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Mikhail Grigorenko NHL Reactions Recap Sabres

  • JHizzle75

    Nice recap. Miller stood on his head yet again. The only goal Washington got was tipped in by Flynn ( the only one that counted anyway ). Thought Omark played well also. Good to see Hodgson get the shoot out winner.
    Happy Birthday Andrew

    • Andrew

      Thanks JHizzle!

      Nice seeing Omark have a good game…If only we could get him and Leino going with some goals…

  • Justin Tosczak

    Just about Grigorenko- He is better off dominating the CHL then dominating the AHL before coming back to the NHL, as opposed to siting in the press box then be thrown to the wolves.. Just my opinion.. Personally, I see a trade brewing with him involved…

    • Andrew

      I just think he should be playing on a level where he can learn a few things…Nothing left to learn for him in the Q!

      • Justin Tosczak

        I respectfully disagree. He can learn more Defense and better positioning… That is if you want to be specific about what skill he needs to develop; but I think the most important thing about going down to the Q is the ability to regain his confidence in himself, and his ability to play the game… Since when is winning and gaining confidence not valuable to a player?

  • davidmuscalo

    Grigo does not belong in the NHL yet, he needs to develop in the minors. Rochester would be preferable, but, since that is not an option, he will have to be satisfied with Quebec. His other option would be to sign with a team in the KHL. We fans are entitled to watch exciting hockey played by season pro’s not watch unproven rookies struggle to keep pace with NHL veterans. Grigo is very young and needs time to develop his skills, adjust his attitudes and learn to play a 100 percent, 100 percent of the time he is on the ice.