Overreactions, 59th Edition: Sabres get a win for America

With a national audience watching at home, one could’ve easily argued before the game that the Sabres didn’t deserve the attention. Sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference, Buffalo is far from a marquee attraction, and being a part of NBC’s Hockey Day In America may have seemed unreasonable.

In the end, they knew how to impress a crowd.

The Buffalo Sabres, winless in their last four, jumped on the Penguins early and led for over 59 minutes of the game en route to a 6-2 win in Sunday matinee action.

Early goals by American immigrant hero Jason Pominville and Derek Roy gave the Sabres a lead they would never surrender in the opening minutes. Fargo, North Dakota native Paul Gaustad’s early second period goal, assisted by Oxford, Michigan’s own Nathan Gerbe and Jordan Leopold of Golden Valley, Minnesota, would prove to be the game winner.

Pittsburgh cut the lead to 3-2 before Milwaukee’s best Drew Stafford added an insurance goal. Buffalo pulled away on goals by Derek Roy and a highlight-reel score by Tyler Ennis.

Roy had his first three point night since November, tallying two goals and an assist. Pominville added two assists with his goal, giving him a team leading 57 points.

Ryan Miller, the East Lansing, Michigan product, stopped 24 of 26 shots to get the win.

Buffalo, thanks to a superb effort by the line of Gaustad, Gerbe, and Angola, New York’s Patrick Kaleta, kept Evgeni Malkin, the league’s leading scorer, in check. Malkin had just one assist and won only 2-of-11 faceoffs.

  • Tyler Ennis is a restricted free agent this summer. Sign him for as long as you can. Sign him for life. The kid is gonna be a star. That goal was the kind of goal that John Tavares would score and people would drool. He’s got skill, tenacity and is one of the most exciting players to watch.
  • Sure, Derek Roy made a great play driving to the net for his shorthanded goal, but holy crap Jason Pominville had an incredible shift. Pominville twice collected passes from the defense and brought them into the zone, only to clear them back to the awaiting defense to kill time. On the rush with the goal, he called for the puck, brought it into the zone and drew two defenders before threading an unbelievably perfect pass to Roy.
  • Paul Gaustad had the kind of game that makes contenders drool. A hard working goal, great defensive game, and 16/23 on faceoffs. Sabres can collect quite a haul for this guy.
  • Tyler Myers had a really good game, and his vision on the Pominville goal was phenomenal.
  • Seriously, who starts Brent Johnson against the Sabres expecting a win? Buffalo just knows how to light him up.
  • Jason Pominville is 15th in the NHL in scoring about three-quarters through the season. Leading by example. What a player he is.
  • Patrick Kaleta had the kind of game he needs to have to play a key role on the team. Almost 19 minutes of ice time, no penalties and he drew a couple penalties. The charging penalty James Neal got for running him led to the Ennis goal just after Neal exited the box. He was awarded a penalty shot and couldn’t beat Fleury. Good game for him.
  • Andrej Sekera gets torn apart habitually by ignorant Sabres fans, so I feel obligated to mention that he was again phenomenal.
  • Ville Leino picked up an assist on the Ennis goal, but I’d say he was by far the least visible Sabres skater on the ice. Didn’t notice him at all.
  • Christian Ehrhoff should go buy the rink staff a can of paint for all the chips he’s putting in the crossbar this season. Guy has a cannon.

Posted on February 19, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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