Ryan Miller got it done last night. That’s why the Sabres were able to get two points against the Rangers. The only shot he let it was one he couldn’t see. Forty-three saves on 44 shots plus three in the shootout should get the job done no matter who you’re playing. Last night, it resulted in a 2-1 win and the Sabres continue to roll through the calendar year.
Watching Chris Drury come down on the shootout…you had a feeling he was going to do something. We all know what Drury is capable of. But Miller rose to the occasion and slammed the door shut. And just like that the Sabres had two points in their pocket that, as a team, they didn’t deserve.
-A majority of the saves Miller had to make were outside shots that didn’t have much of a chance of going in. Credit there goes to the Sabres best three defensemen last night: Lydman, Rivet and Spacek. It was tight-checking neutral zone game until things started to open up in the third period and those three helped get the job done. At times, Rivet and Lydman look like a sold No. 1 pairing but so far this year, Ruff hasn’t been reluctant to mix up the pairings as the game progresses.
-I don’t know what Tallinder and Numminen were doing on that Rangers goal, but they looked completely lost. Colton Orr could have had a picnic lunch in front of the net and no one would have moved him out of the way.
-The lack of a transition game really hurt the team last night. The first pass out of the defensive zone was often deflected or intercepted and that’s one of the main reasons the Sabres struggled for most of the game. More on this later today.
-Connolly returned last night. He looked a little rusty as to be expected, but he was able to create a few opportunities that made you sit back and remember why the Sabres refuse to give up on him. Buffalo is a better team with him on the ice without question but, as Ryan talked about yesterday, he’s not out there nearly enough.
I hope I wasn’t the only one drooling a little bit when Ruff put Connolly with Vanek in the overtime period. Hopefully that’s something we see more of in the future.
Just before the Derek Roy goal, Ellis was streaking down the right wing with the puck. He gets the puck in deep and the next thing you know, the Vanek line has possession and puts the puck in. Ellis has become a bit of a spark plug and hopefully that continues.
-The pass Vanek made to Stafford on the Roy goal was a thing of beauty. Cross-ice, through Drury’s legs, right on the tape. A little lucky? Maybe, but it takes a lot of skill and confidence to even attempt a pass like that.
-It’s inexcusable that the scoreboard read 10:02 into the second period when the Sabres finally got their first shot on goal in the second period. The Rangers dominated the first 15 minutes of the period, but it’s embarrassing that it took Buffalo that long to get ANYTHING going. The Rangers didn’t look like a team with a second gear either, but if the Sabres want to keep this streak alive and beat quality teams, they can’t be coasting through half the game.
-No Rangers penalties? Really?
-I was shocked Kotalik didn’t go backhand on the Rangers backup goalie.
Actually, too, if Lundqvist had been in net, I bet we would have seen a much more wide-open game. The Rangers defense hung back for most of the game to cover, instead of pinching up into the play had Steve Valiquette not been between the pipes.
-The Rozsival incident was a bit scary. They never showed it on the Jumbotron so I still haven’t seen a clear shot of what happened, but seeing something like that always puts a damper on whatever is going on at ice level.
-The crowd was pretty subdued last night. Granted they didn’t have a lot to cheer about until the end of the game, but even from the get go, all 18,300-some in attendance seemed as out of it as the Sabres did. So much for those rowdy Friday night crowds.
– 4-0 in 2009. *Knocks on wood*