YAY, A WIN! AN ACTUAL WIN IN REGULATION!
Quick stats + notes:
1. Giveaways are horrendous. Buffalo had TWENTY-SIX, while Washington had seven. If anyone was watching the sluggish PP, I'm sure you saw several of the 26 giveaways then.
2. Speaking of PP, Sabres went 1 for 8 (Caps were 0 for 5). I know Roy slid one past Theodore on the 5-on-3, but for a good minute, that 2-man advantage was painful to watch. Sabres had difficulty garnering sufficient offense on the PP, but keep in mind the big line change-ups (5 forwards on the PP, with Kotalik and Connolly on the points). It'll take another game or two for Connolly to mesh better with the team's PP.
3. Thomas Vanek (who at any point can have my babies) scored another two goals, earned himself 2nd star, and continues to sit atop the stats standings with his 11 goals. Vanek came roaring out of the gates and worked hard for that 1st goal.
4. Lowest icetimes:
Adam Mair 8:43
Patrick Kaleta 8:36
Drew Stafford 9:15
Nathan Paetsch 9:21
Dan Paille 12:52
If Paetsch doesn't pull a Clarke Macarthur any time soon, he's going to see himself as a healthy scratch far more than he'd like. in order to secure a rotating spot on the bench, he's got to prove that he can outplay the others. Stafford looks like the next on Ruff's chopping block, by the way.
5. The Sabres had four shots in the 2nd period. FOUR, against the Capitals' FOURTEEN shots. Not so great.
6. The real winner is Ryan Miller, saving all 29 shots. A well-deserved 1st star, Ryan!
Yes, the Sabres came away with a stunning 5-0 victory, but to be honest, it wasn't the best game they've played. What they did
do well, which they conveniently forgot in the past few games, was cashing in on key chances. Take Roy's goal, for instance; the 5-on-3 was looking pretty bad, but Roy saw a gap and scored. Vanek's 2nd goal and the Paille/Kaleta give-and-go are two other examples; the Sabres had momentum going their way and was a step ahead of the Capitals' defence, so they took advantage of it.
Stafford - He's seeing less and less ice time; with players getting healthy, expect Ruff to put him down as a healthy scratch. Take a hint from Macarthur! Don't be surprised if Kennedy or Gerbe are pulled up from Portland to shake things up, if Stafford continues to be slow to pick up his pace.
Kotalik - After starting the season strong, Kotalik has just registered 1 assist in the last six games. He's one of the Sabres consistently getting his shots on net every night, though, so hopefully he'll start scoring again.
Sekera and Max - Both lead the team in assists with 7 (neither has scored a goal yet). Sekera has been logging big-time minutes and has transitioned exceptionally well into the NHL. Max is quietly picking up assists, after the transition from RW to LW. Here's good article about the switch: http://www.buffalonews.co.../sports/story/474280.html
Paetsch - For a defenceman, Paetsch is getting very little icetime. He does have 2 assists in 4 games, but if he's got to transition like Sekera and Macarthur have if he wants to stay off the healthy scratch list.