God I love that goal.
I think I’ve watched the replay at least a dozen times. It’s the perfect transition goal: an active forecheck creates a turnover and makes the opposition pay. It’s a simple concept that’s as complicated as it gets in real time.
The anticipation necessary to see that pass and see Connolly free in the middle. The great pass and the play Connolly makes. The head fake blocker side is what sold that goal, and not many players on this team can do what Timmy did. All of that goes into a few brief moments that completely change the game.
When you really think about it, that was the best moment of the game. The Sabres’ other two goals came from good execution on the power play, both started by Connolly. Other than that, you can’t find much good in the effort. Toronto dominated much of the second period and all of the third; and if not for another great effort from Ryan Miller, they hand Toronto their second win of the year.
Compared to Wednesday’s effort, this would be another step backwards for the Sabres. A win is a win, but they showed some serious flaws while letting a bad team get the better of them. Still, what we saw from Tim Connolly gives us a glimpse of just why he’s worth the money. On a night when the Sabres had very little, he steps in and shows us just why we hold out hope for him to stay healthy.
There is a common theme developing this season. With each win comes two players stepping up to make the difference in the game. What has been constant is this: Ryan Miller is always one of those players. The only thing left to chance is who that second player is. So far, that second player has been exactly who it should be. Vanek, Connolly, MacArthur, Myers.
Only problem seems to be that when Miller isn’t around, that second player doesn’t show. Sooner or later Miller is going to get a few more days off, and who shows up on those games may be the difference in this season.