The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. With that win, we can a clean sweep of three stars on Buffalo’s side. And why not? The Sabres won their fourth game in their last five since returning from the Olympic break. This was a scrappy, gutty win by a young team full of players looking to prove themselves to a new management team that’s looking to the future.
It’s weird that we haven’t seen these two together much before this game. I’m sure they’ve been paired up before, but not for long stretches. Seeing them out there immediately made sense though. It’s early and we’ve seen Foligno sizzle early then fade out with other teammates, but I love the combination of Foligno’s hustle and Hodgson’s skill. Their efforts were pretty much the only sustained offensive shifts the Sabres put up in the final two periods of the game, and without them the Sabres likely would have lost.
Second Star: Tyler Myers
Foligno and Hodgson were the best tandem on the ice, but Myers was the best skater. His neutral zone interception-turned-goal the other way in the first period effectively stole that frame for the Sabres. The Lightning play a tough defensive style with the lead and because of Myers’ plays on the first two goals, we never had to see that. Myers was second on the team in ice time with 20:58 and he’s now had six points in his last four games. That includes a goal and an assist tonight. Right now, Tim Murray’s relative conservativeness has paid off in terms of motivation. The young guys want to prove they should stick around for a rebuild or at least be worth it for another to trade for, and no one is benefitting more from that than Myers.
First Star: Jhonas Enroth
Knock on wood, we haven’t seen a bad Jhonas Enroth start since Ryan Miller was traded. Tonight might have been his best. It certainly was by volume. Enroth’s 43 saves were good enough for his third-most in a start, one shy of having made 44 saves twice in his career. He’s made at least 29 saves in his last four starts, he’s 3-1 in that span and tonight he’s the game MVP.