One thing really stood out to me tonight in Buffalo’s win against Ottawa... Ennis’s goal in the dying moments of the 2nd period.
For those of you who missed it, Buffalo gets the puck into the Ottawa end in the last 30 seconds of the 2nd period, down 2-1. Ennis is camped in front of the goal creating the screen on Bishop. Leino gets the puck back to Leopold who lets the point shot go. Bishop makes the initial save. Ennis is left somewhat to his lonesome in front of Bishop. Kuba comes back to try to take Ennis out, but Ennis has already started his move. Ennis dives for the puck, laying himself out on the ice, and swings his stick at the puck to get the shot away. It finds the back of the net, and allows Buffalo to go into the 3rd period tied, instead of down by 1.
Ennis’s determination and grit got him that goal. He knew, as he laid himself out on the ice, that it was the only way that he could get a shot on goal. It paid off in the end.
The rest of the team can learn something from this. From this point on, for the rest of the season, the Sabres need to play with that desperation. Sacrifice. That is huge at this point in time in the season. Buffalo needs to take risks, and show this determination, and drive to win hockey games. Had Ennis not decided to take this risk, throw himself down on the ice, even with Kuba bearing down on him, that puck doesn’t go in. Who knows what happens if he doesn’t do that.
In order for Buffalo to make the playoffs, every single player needs to learn from Ennis’s example tonight. Everyone needs to lunge after pucks, dive to make sure that they clear pucks, drive hard to the net, and take hits in order to make a pass, or take a shot. Ennis’s drive and willingness to go down to the ice hard just to get a shot on goal paid off tonight. He took a personal risk, and cashed in.
Hopefully on Monday night against the Habs, more Sabres start to follow Ennis’s lead.
Sabres farm-team update tomorrow/recap of a crazy game!