Overreactions, 1st Edition: That’s Quacktastic!

Nice way to start a season, I’d say.

In front of a raucous crowd in Helsinki, Finland, the Buffalo Sabres kicked off the 2011-2012 season by defeating Anaheim by a score of 4-1.

Thomas Vanek scored twice for Buffalo, registering both on the powerplay.

“The puck was bouncing for us a bit tonight and we played a good first period with the two-goal lead,” Vanek said. “We tried to get pucks to the net and it paid off early on.”

Vanek also added an assist later on a goal by new captain Jason Pominville.

But the hero of the day was Ville Leino, making his Sabres debut in the arena where he spent season with renowned Finnish club Jokerit. Leino scored late in the first period, his first goal on his first shot as a Buffalo Sabre and the eventual game-winner.

“I have done it for every team where I’ve played, and was lucky to do it again,” Leino said. “It was cool to do it here in Finland.”

Ryan Miller got the win for Buffalo, making 29 saves.

  • Good for Ville Leino, starting off his Sabres career with a goal. It was a very nice play by Brad Boyes and Andrej Sekera to set up the play in the slot.
  • Speaking of other new guys, Christian Ehrhoff continues to look like a good pickup. He made a great play to set up Vanek’s second goal, bringing the puck down low and letting the play develop through patience.
  • On the other-other new guy, Robyn Regehr, he is as-advertised. Played with a nice edge. He’ll be fun to watch.
  • It’s a bit surprising that Lindy Ruff has gotten away from the Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta line that has looked so well since camp opened. With Cody McCormick taking Gerbe’s place, the line was on the ice for Anaheim’s only goal.
  • Gerbe, who played alongside Derek Roy and Drew Stafford, had a couple of nice chances, but failed to finish. If Nate gets those kind of chances on a regular basis all season, I don’t think 30 goals is out of the question. The guy’s gotta convert though.
  • Thomas Vanek’s second goal is the kind of goal that goes in when things are going your way. Vanek had a nice thought and tried to pull a slick move in front of the net, lost control, and watched Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler kick the puck in his own net. When you’re hot, that stuff happens for you. If Vanek starts hot, the Sabres will assuredly do the same.
  • Again on Leino, he was the only Sabre that took more than one faceoff that had a below-.500 rate. What a horrible failure that Leino-as-a-center experiment was. (Editor’s note: that’s sarcasm, for those wondering.)
  • It is a bit distressing how much the team sat back in the third period. Buffalo had zero shots in the final frame. Sure, they were successful in defending the lead, but twenty minutes of play without throwing a puck on net is disturbing.
  • With a win under their belt, the trip can be considered a success no matter what happens against the Kings. It’s obviously been a great experience for the team. They’re playing well. And they’ll get almost a full week to get ready for Carolina next Friday.
Buffalo closes their NHL Premiere experience on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings.

Posted on October 8, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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