To say that last night’s game was a big win would be a huge understatement. When you control the flow of a game against a team like the Rangers while Clarke MacArthur is a “top scoring line center”, well, things are going well. That’s not to say he hasn’t played well, he has, but Clarke making a big impact this early wasn’t exactly in the game plan from September.
It is still so very early, but once again the Sabres gave us those little things to look for and take hope from. Taking it to the Rangers at home while on a long road trip is so very important. Ryan Miller talked about how a trip to New York City has helped the team bond, but I think going in to MSG and flat out beating the Rangers will do more for this team in the long run. Who is left to fear in this Conference after beating the Habs on opening night and the Rangers at home?
What are we going to do with this version of Thomas Vanek? Do we even have a nice, safe place to put him right now? Like a nice, high shelf far away from Connolly’s STDs and Afinogenov’s bipolar disease? This Thomas Vanek we have under contract is pretty great, isn’t he? Like, I wanna build statues in honor of this Thomas Vanek, and pour libations out to honor his offspring.
He’s not going to keep this pace up, he just can’t. However, this is the Thomas Vanek that Kevin Lowe tried to give his first born for, and the Vanek we saw at the end of last year claim we would make the playoffs. This is Altas Vanek, and he’s a hockey player that can literally put a team on his back for any stretch of time. When was the last time we had a player like that, and when was the last time that player started carrying in October?
To watch Vanek carry over his play from last spring can only bring up the expectations around here. Miller has been good, the penalty kill has been unreal, and the Sabres are scoring goals. All this happening with two centers out is simply stunning. Where did all this defense come from after the abysmal performance they gave last year? Since when does Sekera 1) not suck balls, and 2) log 20+ in ice time per game?
I would like to say I saw this coming. Sure, the signs with Sekera and Vanek were there last year. However, to see it come together so well this fast is pretty impressive, especially with who is out. There are still a number of things that bothered me, and we will get to those later. For right now, we have a busy weekend coming up with another big test on Friday.
Consider the first big test passed.