Double Minors: Sabres come out for national audience

After another brief run of losses, the Buffalo Sabres responded. In front of a (sort of) national audience, the Sabres hung six goals on the Pittsburgh Penguins on their way to a 6-2 victory.

Buffalo had dropped four-straight after piecing together a solid run that had some thinking they were capable of salvaging some portion of this season. A few dismal efforts and one blowout all but squashed that type of thinking. Yesterday’s win was one of those, “where has this been?” type of games.

Derek Roy, Jason Pominville and Christian Ehrhoff each picked up three points and Ryan Miller stood tall for his team all afternoon, stopping 24 of 26 shots.

For once there was goal support for the goaltender and goals came from both the top line and role players. The Gaustad/Kaleta/Gerbe line was brilliant and they were rewarded with the game winning goal. Ville Leino and Zack Kassian were fairly unnoticeable but each nabbed an assist. Of course Pominville continued to prove Lindy Ruff right regarding the captaincy with another MVP effort.

While this game may only prove to be evidence for trading certain pieces – Paul Gaustad won 16 of 23 draws and scored the winner – it was a refreshing reminder that the Sabres aren’t necessarily the worst team ever assembled. Sure, there are some flaws on this roster that need to be addressed. But there was promise in this season before everything hit the skids. While 2011-12 may be lost, know that with a few moves the 2012-13 team will be solid.

  • It is interesting to hear how different fans interpret the performances of different players. For example, Ryan Miller can’t seem to catch a break with some and Christian Ehrhoff only has a few good games here and there. Fact of the matter is, each of those players had a fantastic outing yesterday afternoon.
  • Miller may not have been given a star, but he had a few dazzling saves (Malkin, Martin etc.) yesterday. You may argue that both goals were stoppable, but Miller made big saves when his team needed them. I was against starting him but he had a fantastic outing. His play since January 1 has been sound, he is looking like the goalie from October once again.
  • Christian Ehrhoff has a cap hit of $4m. That is a bargain. I could care less what his actual salary is. His play at both ends of the ice has been sound. Regardless if he hasn’t scored 15 goals (seriously, get real), Ehrhoff has been a steady force this season and has proved to be a wise acquisition.
  • Derek Roy looked like an elite hockey player yesterday. I’m not sure what put him in such a funk this season, but he looked like a player that is going to be a commodity next Monday.
  • Jason Pominville and Ryan Miller both play for Team USA. They both had great games on Hockey Day in America. Great showing from a couple players who may just be wearing the red, white and blue at the World Championships.
  • Hockey Day in America is still young, but I see a pretty awesome future in store for the event. I don’t expect Knicks fans in Brooklyn to sit down to watch the Rangers in five years, but this is the type of day to bring attention to the nation’s true hockey cities. Not for their pro teams so much as the hockey culture that exists. I’m pumped for the day NBC broadcasts with kids playing on the frozen canals at Canalside as a backdrop.
  • Paul Gaustad’s trade value has to be astronomical. He kick started his season with the “Where’s Chara?” game against the Habs. He has been worth just about every penny they’re spending on him since then – maybe only a $1.75m cap hit. He saw a steady diet of Evgeni Malkin all afternoon and won a ton of draws. Oh yes, he also scored the game winning goal. There have to be a half-dozen suitors willing to spend far too much on his services until the Cup Finals.
  • Speaking of Goose. Gord Miller shared the fact that he met with Darcy Regier in private yesterday. I’m assuming that conversation discussed the fact he will be traded by Monday. The conversation likely touched on the idea that the Sabres will re-sign Gaustad on July 1.

Game Summary/Event Summary

 

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