3 Game Recap
Posted 10:06 AM ET | Comments 1
The past few games have been an interesting combination for Buffalo’s pride and joy. They’ve struggled at times, but have pulled 4 points out of 6 possible. So far, things look good. A little inconsistent, but good.
The arena was electric for the opening of the season, and the first game ever at the First Niagara Center. As I walked through the arena, there was almost a playoff feel to the game. Everyone was excited. There was almost an undertone of “We are a serious contender this year” compared to past seasons where Buffalo was a team on the playoff bubble.
The game had it’s highs and lows of course. The fans stuck with Buffalo throughout, and after every Carolina goal, the fans did there best to try to rejuvenate the team with chants of “Lets Go BUFFALO!” It was a tough loss, but I’m always a fan to see Buffalo taking lots of shots instead of trying to be too fancy with the puck. I was disappointed with the final score, but I was glad to see Buffalo did take lots of shots, despite moments where they tried to do too much with the puck.
Why’d Buffalo lose this game? Simple. You give up 2 short handed goals in a game, you’re probably going to lose. You certainly aren’t helping yourself. It’s great that the defense is pinching, and trying to create chances, but Buffalo needs to be smarter with the puck, and needs to always have at least 1 person back on the point, quarterbacking the power play.
The first big test of the season was upon Buffalo. Can they rebound in back to back games, after losing the first game?
The right decision was made to play Jhonas Enroth and give Miller the night (which paid off in more ways than just a win in Pittsburgh). Enroth was a wall, and looked fantastic. The goaltending and defense was great in this game, and the offense was able to step up in part because of it. Hopefully, Lindy Ruff will continue to play Enroth on a regular basis to keep him fresh. I’d like to see him again at some point on this road trip. Plus, it really doesn’t matter who he plays against. If he can play against the Penguins and win, he can play against anyone, and win.
The offense returned to basics against Pittsburgh. Crash the net. Take shots, and get the opposing goalie moving. Buffalo looked solid on the attack, and displayed that they have the ability to bounce back after a loss. Vanek and Stafford continued their hot streaks, and Buffalo came back with a big win, early in the season. I don’t expect Buffalo to get pushed around by the Penguins anymore.
After this, it was time to fly north of the border to...
Last nights game... I always look forward to Buffalo vs Montreal games (wherever they’re played) because both teams generally leave nothing on the table. It’s normally a hard fought game, and both teams play their hearts out.
Last night was an exception to this.
Montreal controlled the first half of this game if not more. They attacked, skated hard, and kept Buffalo pinned in their own end. After the first period, the Habs had 14 shots, Buffalo, 3. Thank you Ryan Miller for keeping this game a shut out for the first period.
Into the second period, I figured Buffalo would wake up. Wrong. Buffalo still played sluggish, almost overwhelmed by the Montreal offensive play. I wonder if Buffalo maybe underestimated them a little bit due to their record. However, this Montreal team is not to be taken lightly. They showed last night that they are very quick, and can generate offensive opportunities. Had it not been for 2 plays, Montreal probably would have continued to control this game...
Raphael Diaz scored for Montreal. Buffalo then started to wake up a little bit.
Cody McCormick steps up, and beats the snot out of Travis Moen. Buffalo is now wide awake.
After that, the 2nd half of the game was well balanced. Buffalo opened up their scoring after Stafford skated the length of the ice took his shot, and Price kicked a nice fat rebound onto Leopold’s stick. Buffalo then started to play a well balanced game, and capitalized when Montreal iced the puck late. Vanek’s poise on his 4th goal of the year was phenomenal. Once he got the puck, a lot of players would have shot it, and put it right into Price’s chest to end the period. However, Vanek saw Price sliding across the crease, saw that he wasn’t stopping, waited, and blasted his shot once he saw twine on the far side.
However, I think Captain Pominville summed it up best when he said “Ryan basically stole this one for us.” Buffalo wouldn’t have gotten 2 points had it not been for Ryan Miller’s circus like acrobatics in goal. He stopped 40 of 41, certainly deserving player of the game recognition.
Buffalo now heads to Florida for a date with the revamped Panthers. Buffalo is far from perfect, but there’s a lot of bright spots. Buffalo Sabres fans have a lot to be excited about. I know I am.