Ryan Miller was front and center yet again for the Sabres as he turned away all 22 shots the Panthers threw at him yesterday. While it wasn’t nearly the same test that Montreal tossed at him, Miller was equally solid in earning his first shutout of the season.
Unlike Tuesday, Miller wasn’t bombarded at any point during the game. The Sabres were the team to carry the play, registering double digits in shots each period. Buffalo didn’t allow more than nine shots on goal in a single period.
Lindy Ruff’s line shake up breathed some life into the legs of Ville Leino and Brad Boyes. While their line didn’t register a point;, Leino made a brilliant cross-crease feed to Jason Pominville for Buffalo’s second goal. Obviously Leino would fare quite well on a line with players like Vanek and Pominville, perhaps it was skating with a fellow playmaker (Tyler Ennis) that caused him to struggle.
In addition to Pominville’s goal, the Sabres top line continued their bombardment of the stat sheet. Vanek had a pair of goals, including one on the power play and Pominville factored on all three Buffalo scoring plays. Luke Adam, Pominville and Vanek have combined for 25 points (9+16) in six games.
After a game in which the Sabres could do nothing right, outside of their goaltender, Buffalo pulled a complete 180 in this one. The power play was effective, the penalty kill remained strong and the team played an effective game from top to bottom.
With a day to rest before they wrap up their road trip in Tampa, the Sabres should be very pleased with their early success.
- I feel for Lindy Ruff. He went three years without a capable backup goaltender. Now he has one and his starter is playing out of his mind. The original plan for this road trip was likely to get Enroth Saturday’s game. However, there is no reason to sit Miller down just yet. Ruff will surely ride the hot hand in Tampa and go to Enroth upon Buffalo’s return to the F’N Center.
- Tyler Myers must have had some bad clams on Monday, because his performance in Montreal was beyond forgettable. However, Myers was in top form against the Panthers. He was physical and moved the puck extremely well. He made a great pinch and a better pass to Pominville for Buffalo’s first goal. That is the type of game that could get him rolling.
- Thomas Vanek has been well documented as a streak scorer. He rolled up the most goals in the calendar year of 2008, a streak that spanned the second half of 07-08 and the first half of 08-09. So long as Vanek is hot, the Sabres offense will be difficult to handle.
- The same might be said about Jason Pominville. He often hits patches in the schedule where his scoring goes dead (all goal scorers do). Playing with Vanek on his opposite wing seems to have opened up his game. Both wingers possess the ability to feed and finish. Obviously it is paying off for Buffalo’s top line.
- Paul Gaustad has had two fights and he has yet to break any bones in his hands. It seemed like Matt Bradley was trying to get his team going by initiating with Gaustad, turns out he made a bad choice. Both of Gaustad’s fights have been awesome. Watch his first here, both courtesy of HockeyFights.com.
- While Tyler Ennis has yet to find the score sheet, he will. Bear in mind that this is game number six. If this streak extends past game 15 there may be cause for concern. Stay patient with Ennis, he will find the net again.
1. Thomas Vanek
2. Ryan Miller
3. Jason Pominville