The Buffalo Sabres played a St. Louis Blues squad that is at the top of the standings in the Western Conference, and didn’t look too over-matched for some portions of the game. The young kids in the lineup certainly made it interesting until the very end, with Cody Hodgson scoring on the power-play with 55 seconds left in the game.
Jake McCabe made his NHL debut tonight and for the most part did not look out of place. He played the same game, he played in college joining the rush when the opportunity presented itself, and initiating contact with his body in his own zone to gain control of the puck.
The Sabres loss in St.Louis will not affect their place in the standings, but they could not esca
pe without a loss to their lineup as Marcus Foligno left the game with a lower body injury less than two minutes into the game and didn’t return. It was another blow, with what seems to be a constant theme for the Sabres this season as a lack of talent, along with constant injuries have contributed to the worst record in the league.
The Buffalo Sabres Third Star: Nathan Lieuwen
Nathan played a very solid game once again, especially for someone only making his sixth career NHL start. He stopped 26 of 28 (.929 SV%) shots in the loss and made a couple of key saves to keep the Sabres in the game when they needed him to. The young goalies that the Sabres have been sending out since the Miller trade should make you believe that this team certainly will be okay in net for the foreseeable future until the next franchise goalie comes along.
Buffalo Sabres Second Star: Zemgus Girgensons
Girgensons played his typical physical, full out effort style game, playing solid defense and creating a couple scoring chances in the offensive zone, one of which almost leading to a short handed tally. It has been quite obvious that the Sabres are a much better team with him in the lineup and he will continue to grow, develop, and become a better hockey player and one of the leaders on this team. Zemgus finished the evening with a +/- of -1 and 2 shots on goal.
Buffalo Sabres First Star: Cody Hodgson
The Sabres first star of the game was one of the few players on the team to create any offensive chances all evening. The Sabres finally solved Brian Elliott at the 19:04 mark of the third period, when Hodgson buried a cross ice feed from Tyler Ennis. The entire St.Louis squad cheated to Ennis’ side of the ice, and he found Hodgson for the easy goal.
The knock on Hodgson throughout his young NHL career has been his lack of awareness in his own zone, but tonight he showed that he has the potential, and ability to get better, to possibly become competent in his own zone. It would certainly make the future of the team a little more clear at the #2 center position if he were able to develop a slightly more well-rounded game, because there aren’t any doubts about his offensive upside. It’ll be something to keep an eye on for the few remaining games this season to see if he can be consistent with his effort, or if he reverts back to the Cody we see more often than not.