Knee-Jerk Reaction: Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators


Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

It took ten rounds of a shootout, but the Buffalo Sabres were finally able to walk away with a win tonight over the Ottawa Senators, taking home a 2-1 victory.

Overall, tonight’s game worked out decently for the Sabres. Everyone will be quick to point out the no-goal call in the second period, but let’s focus on the other aspects of the game first.

The Sabres weren’t outshot tonight – in fact, they tied with the Senators, at 36 shots apiece. Although they allowed the Sens to get the first goal, eventually…. they overcame that. Forward Zemgus Girgensons had his second goal in as many games after going the previous 27 games without a goal.

Ryan Miller also managed to stop 35 of 36 shots faced in 64:23 ice time and stopped 7 of 10 Ottawa players in the shootout.

One thing that a lot of people will be talking about: the no-goal call at the 15:30 mark of the second period. It had appeared that goaltender Robin Lehner had put the puck in his own net, giving the Buffalo Sabres the lead; however, this was called a no-goal as a delayed penalty had been called on Ottawa’s Jason Spezza.

Did they make the right call? What do you think?

In the end – the Sabres still won and walked away with two points tonight. Yes, it took a little longer, and yes, the Senators still managed to grab a point… but in the end, Buffalo got the two points.

Other moments from tonight’s game that might get you thinking include the shot block by Tyler Myers in the third period. The defenseman took a puck to what appeared to be the throat or jaw area and fell to the ice. He was able to get up under his own power, but blocking a shot that hard is bound to leave some sort of mark – so keep an eye out for any updates on his condition.

The shootout. Let’s talk about the shootout.

Some of the goals were downright soft; others were better. I was surprised to see Ted Nolan put Matt D’Agostini in before some of the other players, and was pleasantly surprised when Brian Flynn scored on his first ever career shootout attempt. (I was equally surprised when Senators forward Cory Conacher – who attended college in Buffalo – didn’t score on HIS first NHL shootout attempt.)

Later in the shootout, I was reminded that former Sabres player Clarke MacArthur is now on the Senators, a fact I had almost completely forgotten about as the night went on. Waiting for him to shoot, all I could think of was – man, this is it. He’s going to score, and the curse of former Sabres players coming back to haunt us is going to continue. But hey, look! He didn’t score, and didn’t win the game for the Senators…. and then Zemgus Girgensons scored for Buffalo, the last Sens shooter missed, and the Sabres won.

Pleasant surprises all around.

One thing I’ll leave you all with: yes, tonight, Zemgus Girgensons got the first star, with a goal and then a goal in the shootout that would be the game-winner. And yes, he scored in the last game before tonight… but prior to that, he hadn’t scored in 27 games – so don’t be so quick to call him the “savior” of the Buffalo Sabres just yet. Give it time and we’ll see.