Overreactions, 65th Edition: Sabres light up Luongo, beat Canucks

Enthusiasm for Sabres fans heading into Saturday night’s tilt in Vancouver could only be tentative.

After all, going into Rogers Centre, facing one of the best teams in the league in their own barn, after needing superb goaltending performances to win in Anaheim and San Jose?

Well, the offense decided to take care of that. Chasing Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo after just 5:10 and sitting on a 3-0 lead, Buffalo again weathered the storm, hanging on for a 5-3 win against the top team in the Western Conference.

Ville Leino scored twice in the opening 3:44 to give the Sabres a two goal lead, but it was a Brad Boyes goal, which had to be confirmed by review after play continuing, that chased Luongo and gave the visitors the cushion they’d never surrender.

“I told Ville after the game he’s a better shutdown guy than he is a scorer,” Ruff said. “Ever since we’ve put him in a shutdown line, he’s played well. I thought Ville played a great game. … He deserved what he got.”

Vancouver made it 3-1 late in the second, but Christian Ehrhoff’s goal early in the third proved to be the game winner. David Booth of the Canucks would add his second of the game to make it 4-2 soon after and former Sabre Zack Kassian scored his first as a Canuck with 2:46 left.

Tyler Ennis added an empty-netter with just over a minute left to seal the deal, and push Buffalo to 3-0-0 on their current four-game western trip.

The difference again was Ryan Miller, who stopped 32 of 35 shots and had his shutout streak stopped at 155:37. He held the fort as the Sabres were outshot 13-6 in the second period and 10-7 in the third.

The win sends Buffalo into Monday’s game in Winnipeg just two points back of the team that was ripped away from Atlanta, who heading into Sunday night’s Capitals/Flyers matchup, sit in the final playoff spot in the East.

  • Good for Zack Kassian deciding to show up for the game against his former team and decide to start hitting people. He’s the kind of player who shows up when he wants to, and Vancouver will learn that soon enough. Credited with 7 hits, he now has 16 in three games with Vancouver (5.3 per game). In 27 games with Buffalo, he had 39 hits (1.4 per game). Don’t worry Canucks, he’ll disappear at some point soon.
  • Same can be said for Marc-Andre Gragnani. Dude obviously played above and beyond against the team that gave up on him. Threw a whopping three hits against the Sabres, which is as many as he had in his last 11 games for Buffalo combined. If he would’ve played that motivated while he was here, he’d still be here. Was still a -2.
  • Rough night for the top line. Jason Pominville finished -3 on the night (a season worst), and Thomas Vanek played just 12:09, just ten seconds more than Corey Tropp’s team low total. Both were held off the scoresheet again. The team’s winning, but man, they’re going to have to turn that around. Soon.
  • You know, people have bagged on Ville Leino all year. Sure, for good reason, but they have. And all of a sudden, it’s March and he’s turning his game up. Clearly it’s different levels, but look at Rob Niedermayer last year. Everyone said “he’s here for the playoffs” and he sucked all year. But spring came and all of a sudden, it’s like the light flickered on. Bet he finishes strong. He’s not gonna put up the final totals needed, but at least he’s in a spot to finish well.
  • Vancouver scored their first goal as time expired on a penalty to Alexander Sulzer that under no circumstances should’ve been called. The call was high-sticking, and not only was there no contact, there’s wasn’t anything near contact. Officials have been hesitant to make calls lately, and if they’re gonna put the whistles away, any calls they make have to be legitimate. Zero excuse for that.
  • Maxim Lapierre is still a prick.
  • Good for Christian Ehrhoff getting a bounce to get him a goal in his return to Vancouver. Not sure if he was as motivated to face his old team as the guys on Vancouver, but I bet that made him happy.
  • Does this team get up for Hockey Night in Canada? 2-0-2 this season in CBC games, 2-0-0 on the road. Saturday night games in Canada are like nothing else. Atmosphere doesn’t mean anything though, right?
  • This Canucks team reminds me of the Ducks team the year Anaheim won the Cup. Did so much cheap and borderline stuff, that they got away with so much simply because the officials wouldn’t call everything. Whether it be holding, grabbing, obstruction, headshots… the mantra of the league to “let them play” lets them play that way. Good for them taking advantage of the system. It makes it more fun to watch them lose.
  • The Sabres’ top four scorers coming in (Pominville, Vanek, Derek Roy and Cody Hodgson) were all held off the scoresheet. Every other skater, save for Mike Weber and Jordan Leopold, recorded at least a point.
  • Bigger surprise about Leino: two goals or that he won 66.7% of his draws?
  • Love the video screen/banners they hang at each end of the ice in Vancouver for pregame. Looks sweet.

Posted on March 4, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Not only was the penalty on Sulzer a crock, but Kaleta’s goaltender interference call was a farce. Edler should have been booked for interference upon hitting Kaleta on top of the crease.

  2. Nice to see them have a good West Coast trip but they still a an 8th place team at best. Still have Winnipeg, Washington, Toronto, and Tampa Bay in the mix as well. This team still needs a makeover in the office season!

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