Buffalo Sabres Weekly Three Stars: March 23


The Buffalo Sabres had a busy week last week, playing two sets of back-to-back games. First up came a pair of games that saw the Sabres face the Capitals and Bruins, before the team then faced New Jersey and Nashville to cap off the week.

The week began as the Sabres hosted the Capitals at First Niagara Center on Monday. Washington came out on top 4-3 in the end despite a late rally by Buffalo to make it a one-goal game.

The following night, the Sabres traveled to Boston to face the Bruins. A goal by Rasmus Ristolainen, coupled with a shootout tally by Tyler Ennis, led the Sabres to a 2-1 victory.

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After a couple of days off, the Sabres returned to action on Friday, hosting the New Jersey Devils. Former Sabres forward Steve Bernier had a pair of goals as the Devils defeated Buffalo by a score of 3-1.

The Sabres closed out the week on Saturday, visiting one of the best teams in the NHL: the Nashville Predators. The depleted Sabres lineup simply couldn’t keep up as Nashville shut out Buffalo by a score of 3-0.

Three losses, one victory in the past week for the Sabres. For fans who really want the team to get 30th and a top draft pick, I guess that’s a good thing. For those who just want the team to do well, not so great — but hey, a win’s a win, right?

So now, who were the best three players in the past week for the Buffalo Sabres?

1. Anders Lindback

I’m going to start off, yet again, with netminder Anders Lindback. Lindback has been the Sabres’ top goaltender since his trade from Dallas. He’s worked his way in and Nolan seems to like him, and he’s been playing consistently.

Lindback appeared in three games last week — all except the game against the Predators. He had 35 saves on 38 shots against the Capitals, 44 saves on 45 shots against Boston — plus the win in the shootout — and 24 saves on 27 shots faced in the game against New Jersey.

That was three games in five nights for Lindback, including a pair of games on consecutive nights. Nolan decided to give him a break and play Matt Hackett on Saturday against the Predators, but Lindback returns right back to action on Monday against the Stars.

2. Johan Larsson

Johan Larsson has been solid lately for the Sabres, racking up six points in his last seven games.

He had a goal and an assist last week, plus 11 shots on goal — including five in Friday’s game versus New Jersey.

Larsson also registered nine hits, including  a team-high six hits in the game against Boston.

3. Tyler Ennis

Tyler Ennis has been one of the Sabres’ best players this season, and last week was no exception.

Ennis registered two points in four games last week, including a goal against the Capitals. He played over 23 minutes of ice time in three of four games, including 24:08 versus the Predators. For the Sabres, only Rasmus Ristolainen (24:23) had more ice time than Ennis in Saturday’s game.

Ennis also registered 11 shots on goal, including four each against the Capitals and Predators.

Honorable Mentions

Honorable mentions this week go to forward Matt Moulson and goaltender Matt Hackett.

Like Ennis, Moulson also registered two points in four games last week. He also registered 11 shots on goal, including four each against Washington and Nashville. (You read that correctly: Ennis and Moulson had the same stat lines last week.)

Hackett, meanwhile, stopped 40 of 43 shots faced in Saturday’s loss to the Predators. It was his first game since March 7, when he allowed four goals on 23 shots before being pulled in favor of Lindback. It was also just Hackett’s third game of the season for the Sabres, and a tough time for a goalie to come in, when the talk of “tanking” is surrounding the team. I’ll give him props for that one.

On the schedule this upcoming week for the Sabres are three games, two of which are away and late starts. The Sabres travel to Dallas for an 8:30 p.m. puck drop Monday before hosting the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday at First Niagara Center. They’ll close out the week in Colorado to face the Avalanche on Saturday for a 9 p.m. puck drop.

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