Overreactions, 22/48 Edition: New invention called “winning streak” all the rage in Buffalo

20130302 millerwinThere was as much reason to expect less as you’d think there was. In the end, the Buffalo Sabres found a way to get it done.

Fresh off an apparently invigorating trip to Florida, where they claimed two wins in a row, they tacked on another in the confines of First Niagara Center without their leading scorer, taking a 4-3 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils.

Jason Pominville scored twice off feeds from Cody Hodgson to lead the way. The team twice surrendered leads shortly after gaining them, including a third period dandy from New Jersey’s Andrei Loktionov that tied the game at 3-3.

Pominville and Tyler Ennis scored in the shootout and Ryan Miller stopped both New Jersey shooters to secure the win.

“We’re getting more resilient as a team now, and I think that’s a good sign for us,” said coach Ron Rolston. “When I first got here if we would’ve gave up the third goal, it might’ve been a different result.”

Jochen Hecht also scored for Buffalo, his first of the season and his first goal since December 2011. Adam Henrique and Sabres legend Steve Bernier added goals for New Jersey, who got 20 saves from Johan Hedberg and a point in the standings.

It was also a nice win considering they were missing scoring sensation Thomas Vanek. In his absence, Brian Flynn made his NHL debut.

“The guys did a nice job of battling and we pulled one out,” said Miller, who made 28 saves.

The Sabres take off tonight for New York, where they face the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

  • Lots of chatter after the game about how good the crowd was. It wasn’t remarkable to me. The baseline is so far off with this place, it must’ve just seemed like it since people were actually loud for once. It’s supposed to be, at minimum, like this all the time. It’s certainly not the on-ice product spurring all of it, because that game was a mess. Just gotta get people in the mood. Not sure what it was today, but it was dead silent all through the first.
  • Marcus Foligno’s hit on Alexei Ponikarovsky was beautiful. Just solid.
  • Speaking of hits, near the end of regulation, Robyn Regehr destroyed Ilya Kovalchuk from behind with the puck nowhere in the area. Should’ve been a penalty, and it wasn’t. Officiating overall was pretty awful today.
  • Ryan Miller again keeping this team in games it has no business being in this afternoon. Devils with 26 shots through two periods and only a fluke goal to show for it. Guy was really solid before he got owned on a couple great plays by the Devils in the third.
  • Really liked what I saw out of Brian Flynn. Unless this team decides to play like the Blackhawks for the next 20 games and makes a stupid run, it’d be nice to see Flynn given a chance to develop. Skated hard, showed good chemistry over obvious Rolston favorite Kevin Porter, and made some smart plays. Good debut for the kid.
  • Mike Weber’s been pretty good lately. Picked up an assist. Nice reward for the guy.
  • Patrick Kaleta spent half the game skating around inside Kovalchuk’s head, and it certainly helped the team out. Forced him into two dumb penalties, which if anything at least kept him off the ice for four minutes.
  • Jochen Hecht’s goal was the most Jochen Hecht goal ever. Drives the net on his backhand, takes a weak shot, gets stopped, someone else (Mikhail Grigorenko) makes a nice play to get him the puck, and he throws a backhand from the goal line that goes off the goalie and in. Just like his peewee coach taught him. Never fails.
  • On Grigorenko, it’s nice to see him skating with offensively talented players, and the team was rewarded because of it. Skating him between Hecht and Drew Stafford not only provides a good veteran presence but a better chance to put up some points.
  • The mood in the room after the game seemed to be more relief than enthusiasm. This team had the weight of the world on them about a week ago. Now they’re starting to put it together. Rolston’s attitude is definitely making a positive impact. It’s not so much confidence as knowing that it’s not always going to turn out awful.
  • Back to penalties, I don’t have as much of a problem with the boarding call on Porter as I do with the fact that similar and sometimes worse incidents went unpunished. Call the rules and call them right.

3MI Three Star Selections (vote entered around 6 minute mark of 3rd period)
1. Jason Pominville, Buffalo
2. Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey
3. Brian Flynn, Buffalo

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Jason Pominville, Buffalo (2 goals (9), GDG)
2. Ryan Miller, Buffalo (28 saves, 3 GA)
3. Tyler Ennis, Buffalo (20:10 TOI, -2)

Quote of the night:

“It’s not a one guy team, and I think we showed it tonight.” — Buffalo Sabres RW Jason Pominville

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Posted on March 2, 2013, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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