With all the children off for Columbus Day, and a hastily organized “Kids Day” set for the Sabres’ matinee matchup against the visiting Anaheim Ducks, one might expect a light, fun atmosphere.
Yeah, not so much.
With the announced crowd of 18,912 watching, the Sabres were thoroughly and completely hammered by the Ducks, with Anaheim handing Buffalo a 5-1 loss in a game that was never close.
Starting with Andre Benoit’s penalty 18 seconds into the game, the Ducks rolled, outshooting the Sabres 17-3 in the opening period and 44-12 in the game. Sabres goaltender Michal Neuvirth, making his season debut and looking sharp early, never really had a chance, making 39 saves.
“Five goals against, that’s a lot,” said Neuvirth. “That’s too much. Tomorrow’s a new day, and we all gotta be better tomorrow.”
The Ducks got goals from Corey Perry, Matt Beleskey and Ryan Kesler, as well as the first two of William Karlsson’s NHL career.
Tyler Ennis scored in the third period to make it 5-1, his second goal of the season after tallying in Saturday’s loss to Chicago. Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford picked up assists on that goal, while the rest of the team was pointless, some in more ways then one.
Buffalo heads to Carolina to face the Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
- I think it’s pretty damn awesome that the Pegulas shelled out the cash to buy 90,000 t-shirts to give out between yesterday’s Bills game and today’s Sabres game. Giveaways are cool. Giveaways that are unsponsored are an effort. Great gesture. Shame that there were a couple thousand unclaimed shirts draped all over the seating bowl.
- Usually Ted Nolan seems very positive after games. He’ll say some things to show he’s not happy, but in the end he’ll have an optimistic spin on it. After the game, he was as pissed and upset as I’ve seen him since he came in last November. He claimed there would be lineup changes, but there’s only so many moves he can make. Marcus Foligno was scratched with an injury, so there are no spare forwards, and Nikita Zadorov and Tyson Strachan are your spare defensemen. Is that an improvement?
- Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth will both get hurt in the next month or two. They will not be able to handle this workload all season. Read the rest of this entry
Ryan Miller didn’t seem too happy yesterday. When pressed about his departed BFF Paul Gaustad, he seemed unsettled by not having the big guy around anymore. Never knowing how Miller will react mentally to things like this, it’d have been easy to have tenuous confidence about Wednesday night’s game in Anaheim.
Miller stepped up. Big time.
A sensational outing from the man in the crease propelled the Sabres to a scrappy 2-0 win over the Ducks at Honda Center. Miller made 43 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.
The first 40 minutes were a solid effort from the Sabres, jumping out to a two goal lead on a powerplay goal by Derek Roy in the first and a tip-in from Brad Boyes in the second.
For the Ducks, the roosters were crowing and cows were spinning circles in the pasture, as they came out flying in the third period. Anaheim outshot Buffalo 20-4 in the final frame, but couldn’t crack Miller.
Things got chippy at the end, as the Ducks’ frustration boiled over. Three scraps in the final minute, featuring Anaheim stars such as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry marred the end of a solid night for the Sabres.
New acquisition Cody Hodgson looked sharp in his debut in blue and gold, earning a +1 in 16:04 of ice time while ripping four shots and winning 5-of-8 at the faceoff dot. Hodgson was centering Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford, and the line looked dangerous for most of the night.
The Sabres now fly directly to San Jose for the second half of the back-to-back against the Sharks.
- Hodgson was as-advertised, despite not picking up a point. He was buzzing all over the ice and didn’t hesitate shooting. He had a nice opportunity on a 2-on-1 with Tyler Ennis, but couldn’t beat Jonas Hiller. A nice effort to settle into the lineup.
- On Ennis, he had a good look at an empty net, but made what looked like an unselfish play to try to find Drew Stafford in the middle. One with a killer instinct would look for him to shoot. One looking for team play would be cool with that decision. One named Al Iafrate would think Tyler’s a good egg.
- Corey Tropp’s name shows up here a lot. Tonight was another good effort. He drew a boarding penalty that led to the Boyes goal. He threw down with Matt Beleskey. Can’t hate on the kid, dude just brings it. Read the rest of this entry
In front of a raucous crowd in Helsinki, Finland, the Buffalo Sabres kicked off the 2011-2012 season by defeating Anaheim by a score of 4-1.
Thomas Vanek scored twice for Buffalo, registering both on the powerplay.
“The puck was bouncing for us a bit tonight and we played a good first period with the two-goal lead,” Vanek said. “We tried to get pucks to the net and it paid off early on.”
Vanek also added an assist later on a goal by new captain Jason Pominville.
But the hero of the day was Ville Leino, making his Sabres debut in the arena where he spent season with renowned Finnish club Jokerit. Leino scored late in the first period, his first goal on his first shot as a Buffalo Sabre and the eventual game-winner.
“I have done it for every team where I’ve played, and was lucky to do it again,” Leino said. “It was cool to do it here in Finland.”
Ryan Miller got the win for Buffalo, making 29 saves.
- Good for Ville Leino, starting off his Sabres career with a goal. It was a very nice play by Brad Boyes and Andrej Sekera to set up the play in the slot.
- Speaking of other new guys, Christian Ehrhoff continues to look like a good pickup. He made a great play to set up Vanek’s second goal, bringing the puck down low and letting the play develop through patience.
- On the other-other new guy, Robyn Regehr, he is as-advertised. Played with a nice edge. He’ll be fun to watch.
- It’s a bit surprising that Lindy Ruff has gotten away from the Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta line that has looked so well since camp opened. With Cody McCormick taking Gerbe’s place, the line was on the ice for Anaheim’s only goal. Read the rest of this entry
What an interesting Sunday it was for a pair of NHL teams who were both heading in the wrong direction. Well, the Maple Leafs have been heading in the wrong direction for five years now.
A deal which sent Calgary Flames defensemen Dion Phaneuf to the Toronto Maple Leafs was agreed upon late Saturday night and was completed on Sunday morning and it sent shockwaves throughout the hockey world.
There had been rumblings of Phaneuf being on the trade block for a few weeks now, and Sunday morning the hammer fell. Phaneuf was traded from the Flames to the Maple Leafs along with winger Fredrik Sjostrom and prospect Keith Aulie. Heading to Calgary are forwards Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and defensemen Ian White.
For Toronto, I believe this trade will absolutely help them in the long run. Not only did unload guys that weren’t going to be part of the future going forward, but they also got a legitimate #1 defensemen, rather than draft picks and prospect who may never pan out. Phaneuf brings the physical edge that Brian Burke loves so much, and he also brings plenty of offense to table (10 goals this season). Along with the likes of Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, and Luke Schenn the Leafs have relatively solid top 4 on defense capable of playing against an opposing teams top line on a nightly basis. I left out Tomas Kaberle because it appears he’s going to be odd man out going forward.
The Flames were a team that, before pounding the Oilers on Saturday night, were winless in nine straight games and were clearly in need of a roster shakeup, and boy, did they deliver. After trading for Jay Bouwmeester in the summer, it was believed by many that the Flames were set up for a Stanley Cup push this season. Well after a nice streak in November, the Flames had become a mess in January and saw themselves slipping out of a tight playoff race. They obviously needed to wake up the players in the room and I assume they did by trading away arguably their best defensemen.
Despite dealing Phaneuf, the Flames are still pretty solid on the blueline, with the likes of Bouwmeester, Robyn Regehr and now Ian White. They also get some nice, but not glamorous additions at forward in Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman. The deal should put them in good shape to break out of this current slump and make a decent run at the playoffs.
The Leafs weren’t done wheeling and dealing either. Not long after they acquired Phaneuf, they filled a rather big hole in goal. Burke went to his former team and acquired former Conn Smythe winner and Stanley Cup champ J-S Giguere from the Ducks in exchange for goalie Vesa Toskala and forward Jason Blake.
Toronto hasn’t had a good goalie since Curtis Joseph (his first tour of with the Leafs, not the last one) and Giguere, despite losing his starting job to Jonas Hiller, is still capable of being a starting goalie, something the lowly Leafs have desperately needed. Giguere has another year left on his deal, so it also enables the Leafs to evaluate youngster Jonas Gustavsson to see where his game is and make a decision on Giguere after that.
For the Ducks, they unload Giguere’s big contract (they extended Hiller a few days ago) and add a decent, but overpaid, forward in Blake, who could help with a push for the playoffs. I doubt Toskala will be a key to the Ducks future and will likely hit the open market in July.
The deals don’t make the Leafs better today, but they’ve added and few pieces to the puzzle for the future and they’re probably not done dealing this season.