The Sabres special teams bailed them out after a rough opening on a special night for the organization. Buffalo killed off three of four penalties and converted four power play goals to come back on Winnipeg for a 6-5 overtime win.
We had some great power play puck movement. Lately the puck hasn’t been going in the net for us. Tonight we moved the puck well. For me, it was nice to fight back and win the game. Especially with RJ and Dale being here.
The game certainly didn’t start well for the Sabres, or Ryan Miller, as Winnipeg scored twice in the first six minutes and the contest had the looks of last week’s Philadelphia game. Buffalo answered back with two goals in 11 seconds, one on the power play. Winnipeg found the net again shortly after but Jason Pominville tied the game again with a short handed tally.
After a stirring tribute to the two newest Sabres Hall of Fame members, Corey Tropp made the night more memorable by potting his first career NHL goal. The youngster has at least one more game with the big club as Pat Kaleta continues to serve his suspension.
The Sabres managed to stay close with the Jets for the entire evening, thanks in large part to the poorly disciplined play of Winnipeg and a suddenly potent power play. Buffalo fought off slow starts to all three periods before tying the game and eventually winning it on Thomas Vanek’s 10th of the season.
- It certainly wasn’t the start Ryan Miller would have wanted. Most of the fans seemed to think it was the same old song and dance after the Jets first two goals and even their third later in the period. However, the Sabres big money goaltender battled back. After making nine saves on 12 shots in the first, Miller turned aside 17 of 19 shots he faced in the second and third period. He was especially good in the third period when he buckled down and shut the Jets out for the final 23:00 of the contest. The win was what Miller needed, now he needs to take the next step and have a truly effective outing. “We all know that Ryan needs to be better. He was fighting it, but you don’t know what to expect after last game. He may be fighting it for a while,” Ruff said.
- The Tyler Myers/Andrej Sekera pairing was just plain awful tonight. Myers had a few strong plays but was generally average for most of the night. Sekera made two horrendous decisions and vacated his portion of the zone twice on the evening. On both occasions the Jets capitalized with goals.
- Ville Leino needs to find the score sheet. He is making heady plays with the puck but simply isn’t getting the points to show he is making progress. For the money Buffalo is paying him, it would be nice to seem some tangible results.
- It was awesome to see Corey Tropp score his first NHL goal. He has given a great effort in his first three games and was rewarded for his efforts. Lindy Ruff gave the rookie a great compliment on his play thus far. “He has supplied real good energy for us,” Ruff said.
- Paul Gaustad had a whale of a game. He made a brilliant pass on Pominville’s shorthanded goal and made heady plays throughout the night. To that end, Cody McCormick turned the momentum with a hell of a fight in the second period. Despite seeing limited minutes, McCormick filled his role nicely tonight.
- The Subway Line got back on the board tonight. Vanek potted a pair and Pominville accounted for three points. In addition to the 4/12 power play, the Sabres got contributions from everywhere they needed to get them from.
- Lindy Ruff may need to make some sort of change to his defensive pairs for Friday. The Myers and Sekera pair have shown flashes before tonight’s tire fire and it seems as if Leopold and Regehr are clicking quite well. Still, it seems like a few games from Mike Weber could offer some serious stability on the back-end.
1. Jason Pominville
2. Derek Roy
3. Bryan Little