The Value of X

by Ryan

Now that I got that out of the way, let’s be a bit more realistic about last night’s win.

Winning feels good. If it didn’t, we’d all play Japanese game shows instead of watching sports.

With that established, it’s a pretty logical move to say that winning by nine goals feels really good, as well as that winning by nine goals after losing ten straight feels downright spectacular.

Well hold up there, partner, we got a game to play tonight.

I really hate being “that guy,” but I gotta be a bit low key about this 10-1 final. It’s not that I wasn’t excited when it was going on, dear Lord, I almost hugged a guy; but the overall result of this game is a mere two points. Ten goals = two points, and right now that’s all that matters.

Tonight was a good night for Sabres hockey, but in the long run it has to more then just one good night. In the standings this win will be worth the same as any win we’ve had this year, but to the team it has to be a building block. Take what happened tonight and get a boost from it. Know that you still have it, and that your potential is still there.

This team can still be good. That’s the most important result right there. Not “the Sabres are good again” or “they looked good tonight.” No, this team can be good, and tonight is an example of when they were. Whether it continues is up to them, but we can only hope they see what happened tonight as repeatable, maybe not in terms of score, but certainly in terms of effort.

Yes, Derek Roy was back, but Derek Roy forechecked tonight. So did Thomas Vanek, and Dan Paille, and Drew Stafford, and anyone else who wound up on the scoresheet. Take a look at that fourth goal tonight, Roy and Vanek started that play at center ice. Roy backchecked, Vanek forechecked, turnover.

You can say they had another 8 goals of coushin at the end of the night, but little plays like those win hockey games. So does Nolan Pratt standing up for teammates he’s played less than 20 games with, and Paul Gaustad going 19/23 on faceoffs. The same can be said for great vision from Kalinin on Vanek’s tip and Stafford’s breakaway pass.

In the battle of mistakes versus good hockey, the good hockey finally prevailed for Buffalo. All of those smart plays and solid goaltending from Miller overcame a handful of mistakes. Aside from Campbell’s bonehead pass on the PP, the complaints against were few and far between in my book, something that I haven’t been able to say all year.

A 10-1 final is something that is pretty hard to live up to. Yet however unlikely to replicate the final score, what we saw tonight should be what we see tomorrow against the Leafs. If they bring the same game, they will win; it really is that simple.

No matter who is on the other team, Kovalchuck, Sundin, Malkin, Nash, whoever; if you bring that effort you will win hockey games. It may not always be this pretty, but at the end of the night you will get the same thing: two points.