In the last six games, the Buffalo Sabres have scored 10 goals. Tonight, they matched that total in just one.
Coincidence or not, Derek Roy returned to the line up and added some much-needed punch. In the 10-1 win over Atlanta, Roy was credited with a hat trick and an assist.
His linemate Drew Stafford had a five point night, scoring three of his own and assisting on Roy’s first two goals. The third member of the line, Thomas Vanek, broke out of his funk, with a goal and the secondary assists on Roy’s first two tallies.
For a team that praises itself on balanced scoring (13 different Sabres recorded a point tonight), 12 out of 30 individual points were attributed to that one line. As mightly as the Sabres offense has struggled lately, that can’t be overlooked.
When healthy, Roy, Vanek and Stafford have been the team’s best line all season. The problem is that as soon as they start clicking, someone would get hurt and throw off the chemistry. Well now they’re back together and they’re rolling again.
Maybe it was just Atlanta, but no games lately have been “gimmes” for this team. Not by a longshot. So for the team to dominate in this way certainly raises an eyebrow or two–and maybe even drops a jaw or three.
If this line can keep that kind of production up over the next stretch of games (seven straight on the road), then the line may become worthy of a nickname. RAV worked because there was a vowel in there, and VRS (versus?) just doesn’t flow or look right. I’ll be thinking.
But in the mean time, it is only one game. They’ve won just one of their last 11 and need to turn things around fast. Tonight is a good start. And that Roy-Vanek-Stafford line is going to have to contine to be very very good.