It may have been against most of the Hamilton Bulldogs’ roster, but Christian Ehrhoff had his coming-out party for the Buffalo Sabres.
Ehrhoff made a pretty pass to Jason Pominville to open the Buffalo scoring in the second period and scored the game winning goal on a twisted wrister early in the third period. To go along with his +2 and two-point night, Ehrhoff skated for 22 minutes for the Sabres.
Clearly Ehrhoff is a multi-talented defenseman and will be utilized in every situation by Lindy Ruff this season. While Tyler Myers and Robyn Regehr skated together tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ehrhoff and Myers paired up as the regular season draws closer.
– Ryan Miller was, well, Ryan Miller. He was calm and collected and had a number of sparkling saves among the 11 shots he turned away. Jhonas Enroth allowed a power play goal to P.K. Subban, but made 11 saves on 12 shots. Another confident performance off the bench for the new backup. This is an encouraging sign since I have had some doubts about how Enroth will rebound from his strong debut in 2010-11.
– Ville Leino picked up his first point as a Sabre. Sure, it was on an empty net goal with second remaining, but he showed great chemistry with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford on Monday and I anticipate big things from that line.
– The captaincy derby took another step forward as Derek Roy adorned the ‘C’ while Thomas Vanek and Tyler Myers each wore an ‘A’. While it is hard to draw any concrete conclusions from who wears letters in the preseason, these games very well may be an audition for the top candidates on Ruff’s list. He said in his press conference today that he is going to take the preseason to help make a choice.
– While the potential all-around talent of an Ehrhoff/Myers pairing is exciting to think about, the anger that Robyn Regehr can cultivate within Myers may be more valuable. For the time being I think keeping Myers and Regehr together will be good for the Sabres and hell for opponents.
– It would seem that Zack Kassian found a little more of a comfort level this evening, perhaps he had a few jitters to get out of his system on Monday. Of the black aces, I would say he was the most effective. Drew Schiestel and Dennis Persson weren’t anything to write home about, but they didn’t look like tire fires either. It looks as if Brayden McNabb may be able to sneak his name into the first defenseman up contest along with T.J. Brennan.
– Buffalo will play three games in a row this weekend, beginning with a home-and-home with Toronto on Friday and Saturday. The Sabres website shows an MSG broadcast for Saturday’s game and NHL Network for Friday, I wouldn’t be surprised if Friday’s game is blacked out in Buffalo, though. Sunday the Sabres play in Columbus in a contest that will only be heard over the radio. There will not be individual Morning Skate and Double Minor entries for these three games, instead I will offer a weekend preview and wrap-up for the set.