Overreactions, 6th Edition: Flawless

The best way to describe that effort has to be the word “flawless.”

Continuing their road trip in Florida, the Buffalo Sabres won their third in a row, beating the Panthers 3-0.

Thomas Vanek scored two goals and Ryan Miller made saves on all 22 shots he faced to push Buffalo to 5-1-0 on the season. Buffalo carried the play for most of the game, outshooting the hosts 38-22, including 14-6 in the third period.

“I thought that was probably our best game of the year when it comes to supporting the puck, coming out together, coming out with speed,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Vanek opened the scoring early in the second period, deflecting a Jason Pominville pass past Jose Theodore. Pominville would score himself with three minutes remaining in the period, taking a pass from Ville Leino at the side of the crease and knocking it in.

The Sabres’ leading goal scorer, Vanek, would add the insurance marker on the powerplay in the closing minutes.

It was an overall dominating performance where Buffalo made it obvious that they were the better team tonight. As a rebound from Tuesday’s sluggish showing in Montreal, where the team still netted a win, fans couldn’t ask for a better effort.

  • Ryan Miller did get the shutout, but he was rarely challenged and face few shots of high quality. Another strong effort out of him, but it does raise doubt whether Lindy Ruff will stick to his word and get Jhonas Enroth another start on the roadtrip. With the next game being the concluding match of the trip, and Miller coming off two great efforts, it’d be understandable to expect Ruff to stick with the hot hand as he has historically. With the team firing on all cylinders regardless of who’s in net, I’d still think it’d be better to stick Enroth back in for the Tampa game.
  • Ville Leino was demoted to the “fourth line” with Brad Boyes after the two had a few bad games. The good news is that with Cody McCormick along side the pair, they looked alright. Leino did add an assist, was a +1, and incredibly won 50% of the four faceoffs he took. Nice effort out of Leino.
  • The line juggling definitely benefitted Tyler Ennis. Now with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford, that line was dominant everywhere but the scoresheet. They looked very good.
  • Brad Boyes, who was a post away from getting on the scoresheet, also looked better than he has recently. He actually took a few draws, winning four out of five. Is the solution to the Leino struggle on draws moving Boyes to center? Maybe.
  • Christian Ehrhoff had a very good game as well. He logged almost 25 minutes, and played like a rock on the blueline. He seems so calm with the puck. Some guys treat the puck like a grenade, but Ehrhoff is the complete opposite.
  • On Florida, they didn’t show it tonight, but former Sabres AHL-affiliate head coach Kevin Dineen will turn that team into a good one this year. They added a lot of talent over the summer, and other than tonight, have had some good efforts. They may challenge for a playoff spot, which would be great for that market.
  • Andrej Sekera, another great game. If the other two pairings weren’t playing so well, it’d be easy to argue Andrej should get more ice, but there’s just no need to throw more at him. He’s been very good all season, probably the team’s most consistent defender.
  • Jason Pominville hasn’t been exactly tearing it up, but he had a three point night that could’ve easily been overlooked. Captain America (that’s right, Canada) has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the six games. A nice start for Pominville.
  • Former Sabre Tim Kennedy was -2 tonight for Florida. Some people like to rip on him, but he’s a classic case of be careful who you trust. One minute you could be living a childhood dream in your hometown, soon enough you can be shuttling from Miami to San Antonio all year.

Posted on October 20, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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