Posted 11:41 PM ET | Comments 1
I've been a Sabres fan since day 1, Gilbert Perreault, until I will take my last, Royal Blue, Gold and White breath a Sabres fan.
I'm going to format my blog by period. Enjoy!
Pre game ceremony
I've always felt the Sabres front office dropped the ball again, and again, and again.
When opening the season, especially you're 50 year of existence you should make one helluva production. The captains thing was o.k. but they used some "interim captains" kinda felt diminished.
But anyhow, T.P. should've spent some money on production staff of Caesar's Palace calabre. Would've went well with the cozy, relaxed feeling you get from watching Krugers crew.
The team continues to play an upbeat relaxed game. Every Sabre continues to play like they've skated ten years together. One word that comes to mind is crafty.
Puck control is like I've never seen before, they're creative with the puck, have patience when they need to have it and use their speed at the right time.
One of my favorite plays of the period was a Zemgus Girgenson highlight when he flipped the puck out to the neutral zone and gave chase, to the Jersey blue line, forcing the Devils defence back into their zone.
Twice Girgensons almost stole the puck & the second time he almost striped it in front of the net. The play didn't result in a goal but it ate up time and displayed how to forecheck, after you play the puck.
Period number two didn't start out the way we wanted, New Jersey came out fast and cut the score to 2 -1 with less than a minute gone from opening faceoff of the second period making you wonder how they would respond.
In years past the Sabres would more often than not, collapse, fold up tent and go.
Not this Sabres team. This team added a little hot sauce and grit, continuing to complete unexpected passes, laying out and playing the Devil's hard, exiting the 2nd period with an astounding and well deserved 5 -1 lead on the 50th anniversary celebration! This is exciting!
Woooops! NJ scores a quick goal. So what, Sabes train keeps a rollin'
Next Sabres goal doesn't happen without the highlight reel play by Marcus Johansson at the New Jersey blue line quickly reversing the play to a go n give pass to Jeff Skinner. Jeff skins the cat ! Asst Johansson.
I was also impressed on how the defence was quick to recover from mistakes. Dahlins a real leader. He's backing up his words on the ice, Millers paying dividends, teaching body position and passing clinics and Risto's playing solid.
How about the long pass ? Can I get an AMEN! Don't stop trying it! The Sabres have been quick and lethal on the long, precise passing play.
Zemgus is growing and thriving under Ralph Krueger's system.
Refs: Can you believe Hutton getting interfered with 2x in less than a minute and not one call?
Big moneys paying off as Jeff Skinner's play on the puck in the neutral zone forced the Devils into a tripping penalty. Skins gets tripped sabs 4th pp.
This lines better than last years line with skins and Sampson and allows Raph some mix and match on the top six without missing a beat.
I still hear RJ's call:
Eichel to goaloffson, scooooores! Olis 2nd goal! If this keeps up we're going to experience a Nylander/Marner situation.
My favorite play of the period was Jake McCabes hit on Wayne Simmonds.
This created a havoc that took New Jersey's top scoring & an elite defenceman named P.K. Subban off the ice for four and 5 minutes. Elite play by Jake!
The final period started the same way as the second, a NJ goal off a Travis Zajac shot at :58 second mark. 5 - 2 Buffalo.
So what! It's time for the Sam Reinhart show. Today Sam schools New jersey on puck possession and puck control. 6 - 2 Buffalo.
Next, Sam, still under a goal scoring spell undresses P.K. Subban at the Sabres blue line and skates away on a break away, sending the crowd in multi dimensional frenzy, 7 - 2 Buffalo!
Scoring helps the defense, good defense helps goaltending. Carter Hutton made some great saves throughout the game that kept New Jersey shaking their heads.
The fourth line.
These three are making the naysayers eat crow. Everybody wanted these three out so the youngins could move in and play. Trade them for something! waive them was the cry! I've always felt #28 was misused and badly coached by past Sabre regimes. I always thought Girgenson a team player, doing as asked even at his own expense. The Lion Eaters having fun and it shows. Hit him on the fly and watch how he uses his body to shield the puck on the break away while maintaining control at high speed.
Larson's killing it on defensive play which leads to breakout plays.
They're strong on the puck and major contributors to the Sabres success. A strong foundation makes the structure stronger. This fourth line is solid and have elevated their play.
Ralf is selling simplicity in play and communications, linguistics like that of a dolphin. How else could they be making so many unreal passing plays? Successfully!
I don't have that " in a 10 game winning streak" feeling, I have the " for real" feeling. They'll lose here n there for sure, but the consistency and style will be there because they are amazed at how easy it is to be simple.
WHO SAW THIS COMING?