Overreactions, 4th Edition: Back in the win column

No Crosby? No Malkin? No problem.

With injuries sidelining the Penguins’ superstars, the Buffalo Sabres rebounded from a disappointing home opener with a solid 3-2 win in Pittsburgh.

Backstopped by Jhonas Enroth, who made 29 saves in his first start of the season, Buffalo got goals from Nathan Gerbe, Luke Adam and Drew Stafford to earn their first win in Pittsburgh since December 2009.

“Jhonas kept us in the game all game long,” Adam added. “He gave us a great effort back there, and when your goalie is playing well in front of you, it gives the guys a lot of confidence.”

It was another solid effort from the young Swede in net. Only a deflected James Neal shot and a rebound goal by Jordan Staal found their way past him. Dating back to last season, Enroth is now 8-0-1 in his last nine decisions.

  • If Enroth is going to play 20 games this season, like many have discussed would be optimal, he’ll have to play once every four games. This was the first opportunity, and natural, being the second game of a back-to-back. Buffalo doesn’t have another back-to-back until November 4-5, so it’ll be interesting to see if/where Lindy gives Jhonas another start.
  • Thomas Vanek had some great opportunities and did a good job stretching the ice, but he must’ve made a bet that he’d score on a slap shot tonight, because he wouldn’t get away from it. He had missed the net on odd-man breaks multiple times. You’re allowed to deke, Thomas.
  • The powerplay had somewhat of a rebound. In only one opportunity, they moved the puck very well and generated a lot of pressure, but failed to convert. They looked good and didn’t allow any shorthanded opportunities.
  • It was mentioned here after the Carolina game that Nathan Gerbe didn’t have a great Friday night. He more than made up for it in Pittsburgh. Gerbe was phenomenal, creating a lot of opportunities and working the puck well. Nate was rewarded with a goal in the first, and made a slick drop pass to set up Drew Stafford’s game winner. Great effort from the little guy.
  • Speaking of Stafford’s goal, it was an absolutely beautiful shot. Sniped the inside of the far post from along the boards. A goalscorer’s goal.
  • To the LeinoBoard, 1-of-8 at the dot, -1 in 15:00 of ice time. It’s a pattern.
  • These teams, if they meet in the playoffs, would play one hell of a series. Based on where they’ll probably finish, I could see it happening.
  • Gotta mention Luke Adam, as he was the first star of the game. A nice finish on his goal off the pass from Vanek, and created the Gerbe goal. The kid may not have his complete game together quite yet, but he’s producing, and that top line continues to look good. He should pick a new number and stick around for a bit.
  • Another positive: Matt Cooke didn’t try to kill anybody. That’s always a positive.
  • Really liked Robyn Regehr’s game. Was a physical force and made some smart plays. Was a positive presence on the blueline. Only bad play was deflecting the Neal shot past Enroth.
  • Marc-Andre Gragnani, while still looking like a star on the powerplay, has been struggling at even-strength. Hasn’t seemed to be very good down low. If the powerplay is working, he’s got a spot in the lineup. If it’s not producing, he’s going to have to battle for that spot.

A few days off, then it’s back at it in Montreal at Centre Bell on Tuesday. Go Bills.

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Posted on October 16, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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