It's finally happened. The Sabres have scored more than the Buffalo Bills in a single 60 minute game. The scary thing is, the Sabres are still playing.
Unfortunately, I was unable to actually sit down and watch the Sabres play up until tonight. Aren't weddings wonderful? I saw bits and pieces of the Coyotes game. Other than that, I haven't been able to see a game.
Tonight's game versus the Red Wings is the first time I'm able to see the 2009-2010 Sabres. The offense of the Sabres is shocking and stunning. Numerous things jump out with me that shows the Sabres are starting to get back into their constant attack mode from the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 era.
First, the Sabres offense is able to get the puck into the Red Wings end and apply solid pressure. The Wings have had a very difficult time trying to clear once Buffalo gets possession in the Wings end. There is constant pressure on the Wings defense. The fore-check for Buffalo is as good as I've seen it since the playoff run in 05-06. As I watch Kronwall and Lidstrom try to handle the offense of the Sabres, one can see they are definitely getting tired. Plus, it's not just one player going in on the fore-check. Numerous Sabres are fighting for the puck in the corner.
Second, the defense is jumping up into the play much more willingly. Numerous rushes tonight would have been 2 on 2's if the defense doesn't join the rush. Even rookie Tyler Myers joined the rush at one point tonight during the second period and showed a burst of speed. His rush resulted in Patrick Kaleta's first goal of the season. The past two years, the defense of the Sabres has been playing farther back. However, the Sabres entire team is chipping into scoring, not just the 12 forwards dressed for the game. All 20 players are making a solid effort.
Third, the Sabres are taking shots. There isn't any of the cute stuff to set up a goal, with the exception of Buffalo doing some pretty stuff while they were on the power play up 5-1. I've always believed this principle to be key for hockey; if you do not shoot the puck, you will not score. The Sabres seem to have adopted this principle. The Sabres are taking shots left and right. Not all of them are getting through, but if you are taking shots, good things will happen.
Fourth, the Sabres aren't letting up from their attack. Sure, they may give up an odd man rush periodically, but the Sabres are moving back quickly in transition. The perfect example is the pressure the Sabres have had tonight. The Red Wings almost had a 2 on 1 tonight. The Sabres defense got back so quickly, it turned from a 2 on 1 for Detroit, to a 2 on 3. The transition between the offense and defense is smooth and rapid, minimizing chances for the opposition. This offensive attack is relentless. As I write this, a 5-1 lead isn't good enough in the third period. Gaustad just scored to make it 6-1. The Sabres are not just sitting on a lead once they've gotten it. The attack continues for 60 minutes.
Finally, the Sabres are crashing the net. There is constantly one person in the area of the Red Wings net when the Sabres are on the attack. Numerous goals scored by the Sabres tonight occured because of players going hard to the net and shooting the puck.
The new approach to the Sabres of getting possession of the puck and maintaining it seems to have broken through against the Red Wings. The Sabres are out-shooting their opponents by a large margin to start this season. Once again, if the Sabres shoot the puck, and keep applying solid offensive pressure throughout the year, the Sabres may surprise some teams this year. They certainly are surprising the Detroit Red Wings tonight.