It came in about as ugly a wrapper as you could find. But the Sabres finally got a win on the road.
The good news was that Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff made their return to the lineup. Regehr only saw 18:10 of ice as he may not be back to 100% just yet. Ehrhoff picked up where he left off prior to December 30. He played a team-high 24:27 on the night. The bad news is that Jochen Hecht is out with another concussion and it seems extremely serious. Hopefully he recovers soon, it has been a nightmare season for the veteran center.
Ryan Miller’s first star effort shouldn’t go unnoticed. Everyone and their three brothers had been waiting for Miller to put toegther a sound outing, he did just that last night. Not only did he face twice the amount of shots that Brodeur faced, he made a handful of dazzling saves needed to keep the game tied. Miller has been making some timely saves over the last couple weeks, but he hasn’t received the defensive or offensive support for them to matter. The goals weren’t there tonight, but the defensive game was much better and it finally showed on the scoreboard.
- Losing Jochen Hecht is bad for a team light on centers. It is even worse considering Luke Adam was again demoted to the fourth line. Considering the way Ruff described the ailment, Hecht’s well-being is paramount. The fact the Sabres are running out of centers just adds to the bad vibes.
- Marc-Andre Gragnani played 6:03 on the wing tonight. Well, he saw 1:22 on the power play, but the rest was played at left wing. Shocker, he wasn’t all that bad. He doesn’t play a physical game, which makes him pretty useless on the third and fourth lines. But for six minutes of ice, he is equally effective as Colin Stuart or most other Rochester call-ups.
- What a difference Rehehr and Ehrhoff make. Sure, Regehr was limited and Ehrhoff had a couple of gaffes with the puck. But Lindy Ruff finally had a complete contingent of defensemen to use and the Sabres won the game. That cannot be a coincidence.
- Jason Pominville has really embraced the whole captain thing. He showed some balls shooting on Brodeur after Vanek and Boyes were both stopped on shots.
- The week off is going to give the Sabres some time to heal up. While the playoffs may be out of the question, getting Paul Gaustad, Tyler Ennis and the rest of the walking wounded back will be important for any sort of stretch run.
- Lastly, here’s hoping Tyler Myers is feeling ok