Overreactions, 39th Edition: Secondary scoring shows up in Sabres win

In the Sabres’ recent struggles, it’s been the absence of the team’s second line on the scoresheet than would appear to be the difference between getting two points, one point or none on any given night.

For once, they showed up and got two.

Third period goals by Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe broke a 2-2 tie and provided the margin of victory in Buffalo’s 4-3 win over Edmonton.

“We’ve talked about it enough. Bottom line is guys knew we just needed to go out there and get it done,” Stafford said. “It feels good to get those two points. Now, hopefully we can string a few together.”

Even after falling behind 1-0, it was the usual suspects that got the Sabres back in it. Jason Pominville tied it up with his 13th of the year late in the first period. Jordan Leopold’s 7th on the season made it 2-1 before the Oilers tied it back up.

In the third, it was Stafford and Gerbe putting the game away. Edmonton closed it to a one-goal game late, but it didn’t change the outcome. Stafford was in on the last three Sabres goals, and finished with a goal and two assists.

Ryan Miller won for the fourth time in his last five starts at home, making 23 saves.

  • Zack Kassian needs to go back to Rochester. He’s having issues playing well enough to stay in the lineup, and he’s earning ice time by default. Another passive effort from someone who’s supposed to be earning a spot as a physical presence. Don’t damage his development by letting this poor play go unpunished.
  • Mike Weber was really good. He’s settling in very well after starting the year as a scratch. With the defense decimated by injuries, Weber is being relied upon right now. Good to see a solid effort.
  • Jordan Leopold has seven goals this season. The rest of the defense combined has ten on the year. Even after scoring 13 in 71 games last year, Uncle Leo is on pace for a similiar total. Guy has been a stud.
  • I have no idea why Lindy Ruff broke up Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek to start the game. Their lines produced absolutely nothing until he reunited them, where the captain tied the game. Not many things have consistently gone well offensively. That pairing has been great all season. Splitting them up is retarded.
  • I look forward to the day the Sabres ditch those alternate uniforms. Yuck.
  • Derek Roy picked up an assist and a +3, and overall, I liked his game. Still looks pretty snakebitten when it comes to putting the puck in the net, but away from the puck, I liked his game a lot more than basically every other effort of his lately.
  • Thomas Vanek was held pointless in 15:18 of ice time. This coming off of three days rest and with two days off between this game and the next. Why is the team’s leading scorer playing just 25% of any game? There were only four powerplays combined on the night. Special teams can’t be an excuse. Unless he’s banged up, he’s gotta be near 20 minutes a night. Play your best players.
  • Mark Spector of Sportsnet tweeted about how awful the atmosphere was at First Niagara Center. At what point does the message get through to the organization that something needs to change?
  • Your minus players on the night: Paul Gaustad, Patrick Kaleta, Matt Ellis.
  • Speaking of Kaleta, that penalty in the second period for charging seemed dubious at best. But a look at Rule 42 indicates that they’re not gonna let him take an extended run into a guy, despite the absence of powerful strides.

Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

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Posted on January 4, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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