Being at the other end of a shutout is never something you want to endure. Neither is posting a game recap a full day late – but this is the best I can do.
Mathieu Garon has never been a great goalie. In fact, he could barely be considered a good goalie most of the time. Of course, he has had a strong start to the season for the Tampa Bay Lightning and managed to blank the Sabres yesterday, turning aside 21 Sabres shots.
Buffalo put forth a disappointing effort in front of yet another sparkling performance from Ryan Miller. An early injury to Tyler Ennis didn’t help matters as Lindy Ruff was forced to shuffle his lines for practically the entire game. However, that didn’t seem to matter as neither 11 or 12 forwards would have helped the effort Buffalo put forth.
The Sabres power play continues to falter, going 0-for-3 on the evening and accumulating one goal in eight attempts on the road trip. A 12.5% success rate is not where the Buffalo power play was expected to operate, particularly with the additions made to each unit.
Perhaps the silver lining is that the Sabres penalty kill has been stellar. Aside from denying quality chances, the man-down unit is operating at full efficiency. While the power play isn’t producing, the opponents aren’t finding the net on Buffalo’s penalties which makes all special teams a wash.
- The Tyler Ennis injury made some difficult combinations for the coaching staff. However, Ville Leino found his way to the left wing with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford. This could certainly turn into a permanent role for the new acquisition as he seems to be far comfortable on the wing. Regardless of the length of Ennis’ injury, Leino should probably find his way to the wing. He had the most success playing from the wing, why not put him back in his comfort zone.
- Robyn Regehr continues to be a mean SOB. The Myers/Regehr pairing is clearly going to turn into the shutdown pairing the Sabres have been searching for since the beginning of last season.
- Marc-Andre Gragnani is not only struggling in the defensive zone, he isn’t even offering much to the man advantage. Of course, the entire power play has been bad, but Gragnani is not in a position where he can struggle. The door for Mike Weber continues to open as Gragnani’s struggles mount. My personal opinion is to reward Andrej Sekera with some power play time (he has been one of Buffalo’s best defensemen) while putting Weber back into the lineup.
- Ryan Miller was outstanding for the entire road trip. After his performance against Montreal and his shutout in Florida there was no reason to take him out against Tampa. Jhonas Enroth deserves another look and should get it against Tampa on Tuesday. Plus, throwing a wrinkle at the Bolts could prove to be very beneficial.
- I’ll continue to pump the tires of the Vanek-Adam-Pominville line until they give me a reason not to. Their offensive zone possession has been dominant game-in and game-out. While I wouldn’t hate to see Leino center these two wingers, there is no reason to take Adam away from the Sabres’ most productive line.
- Aside from a major defensive gaffe and a well-placed point shot, the Sabres were still in Saturday’s game thanks to Ryan Miller. Not getting consistent scoring from anyone other than the Vanek-Adam-Pominville trio will hurt the Sabres if it continues.
1. Mathieu Garon
2. Victor Hedman
3. Brett Connolly