Overreactions, Preseason Edition: Enroth, Sabres shutout Columbus

No matter the circumstances, preseason or regular season, it’s hard to know what to expect after Sunday’s shitshow in Toronto. The circus of the last couple days really had nothing to do with tonight’s game, and it showed.

Not a fight, scrum or scrap to be seen, as the Buffalo Sabres rode the solid goaltending of Jhonas Enroth and steady defense in front of him to a 3-0 win over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.

Buffalo jumped out to a lead early in the second period as Ville Leino finished a rebound from a Cody Hodgson shot as the team skated 6-on-5 on a delayed penalty. With Enroth on the bench for the extra attacker, the team generated multiple chances before Leino scored his first of the preseason.

That was all the offense they’d need, as Enroth stopped 26 shots to earn his first win.

“I don’t think it was that tough of a game on me, actually,” said Enroth. “Overall it was a pretty easy game.”

Third period goals by Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons provided the insurance for the Sabres, who moved to 4-1-1 on the exhibition season. Defenseman Mike Weber added assists on all three Buffalo goals.

Buffalo has one more game before they play for keeps, Friday night in Carolina.

  • Joel Armia played his last shift late in the second period and would leave the game with a hand injury. His line with Grigorenko and Girgensons looked really good, so it was disappointing that he disappeared. Sabres coach Ron Rolston was unsure of his status after the game.
  • Weber’s three secondary assists look better in the box score than they did on the ice. He honestly had a pretty good game. Funny how he’s turned from a fringe defenseman to a solid veteran in the matter of a year or two.
  • Hey Sabres, maybe don’t have your PR arm brag about the fact you didn’t bother to televise 6 of the team’s 7 preseason games. That needs to change next year, because things like Sunday should convince you that it’s worth the effort.
  • Thomas Vanek didn’t score, or get an assist, but he was third star of the game and looked the part. Honestly could’ve had a goal or two and a few assists if the puck would’ve gone in for them. Columbus’ goaltending tandem of Jeremy Smith and Mike McKenna did all they could though.
  • I was really hoping Rolston would start John Scott, if only out of spite. I’d have appreciated that.
  • Maybe the best I’ve seen Grigorenko look, maybe ever. Tonight he didn’t seem out of place. Didn’t win every physical battle, but made some very nice plays and some others that ended up on the scoresheet.
  • The defense pairings tonight: Tallinder-Myers, Ehrhoff-Pysyk, Weber-Ristolainen… those could very well be the pairings a week from tonight. And I’ll be totally ok with that.
  • Announced attendance tonight was 17,346 but there was no more than 11,000 in the house. Wednesday night against Columbus when you haven’t been able to watch any games yet this year? Probably not at the front of a fan’s mind.
  • Christian Ehrhoff wore the C tonight. I’m not sure I see him getting it permanently, but it’ll be interesting to see where Rolston goes with it. Vanek with a contract extension gets it automatically. Ott’s game isn’t conducive to it, as you can’t have your captain in the box for five or ten. Other than that, who knows? Cody Hodgson might be a dark horse. He’s your number one center, after all.

 

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Posted on September 25, 2013, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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