I must say before we get started that it is quite nice writing about a Buffalo Sabres game where the Buffalo Sabres come out on top. It’s even nicer when they snap a seven-game losing streak. Tonight the Sabres looked like an actually hockey team, instead of some AHLer’s trying to make their way as boys against men. Unfortunately, they did so against the second worst NHL team in the Edmonton Oilers. However, a win is a win and I’m hear to deliver the 3 stars from tonight’s Buffalo Sabres win.
Third Star- Drew Stafford-
Say what you will about Drew Stafford‘s late season antics when the season is over, but there is something different about this latest Drew Stafford. He’s playing with confidence and taking a leadership role on this young Sabres team. The chemistry he has with Tyler Ennis is quite special and he seems to really care right now. Watch him next game; When he scores his smile is a mile wide and when his linemates scores it’s 10 miles wide.
Tonight Stafford scored the Sabres third goal, hammering the final nail in the coffin and once again was all over the ice. He also came up big on the defence taking away many key chances during the final minute when the Oilers were pressing hard. Stafford has been great as of late and despite the fact he was almost useless the first half of the season. If he can continue this strong play into next season it might not be a horrible idea to give him a C.
Second Star- Matt Hackett
One could make an argument that the Buffalo Sabres have had some of the best, if not the best, consistent goaltending throughout the lineup all season. I mean how often does a 30th ranked team have both netminders heading to the Olympics? Ryan Miller was solid to start off the year and Jhonas Enroth has picked up right where he left off. Mix in solid play from Michal Neuvirth and two very bright future netminders in Nathan Lieuwen and Matt Hackett, then maybe if the Sabres could get some suitable offence, they might have a contending team.
Tonight it was Matt Hackett’s turn to show the Buffalo Sabres what he’s got after a rocky season in Rochester. Although he’s been heavily criticized this season, tonight Hackett looked like a seasoned pro turning away 35 of 36 shots for his first win with the Sabres. Hackett was a highly touted prospect and tonight he showed why. He showed immense poise all night long and was able to hold onto the lead throughout the third period. He records his first NHL win in over a year and his first a member of the Buffalo Sabres tonight. Hackett might have a bright future in Buffalo after all.
First star- Cory Conacher
If you follow me on twitter- shameless plug- you know just how excited I was when the Buffalo Sabres picked up Cory
Conacher off of waivers. In fact I was asking on twitter all day before it happened. Since his days with the Lightning I have always been a fan of Conacher and wanted the Sabres to go after him. While he didn’t fare well in Ottawa, he seems to be doing just fine here in Buffalo. Tonight he used John Scott‘s helmet to muster up some magic scoring as he netted his first two goals as member of the Buffalo Sabres, including the game winner.
You can generally tell when a player is on their game within their first few shifts based on how physical they are. Conacher was on his game. He was throwing the body around and even got involved with Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens. Tonight the Sabres waiver claim came to play and had fun doing it. That smile of his is infectious and he really has fun out there. He was all over the net tonight on a line with Stafford and Ennis coming close to netting the hatty. Conacher looks good, hopefully he can keep it up.