What more can you say about the Buffalo Sabres right now. The Sabres have been to extra time in the past five games and have finally won a game on home ice after going winless at the HSBC Arena in their first seven contests.
The reason for all this is a couple of factors. First off Jhonas Enroth. Enroth came into the starters role after All World Goalie Ryan Miller went down with an injury. The Sabres had to come to terms that they needed to be better in front of Enroth and not rely on him as much as they did Miller. Defensively the Sabres became a bit tighter which led to some key wins on the road to give them some confidence. In their first few games, especially at home, Buffalo was very shaky on the back end. They seem to have found a bit of a niche and the improved play of Tyler Myers probably took off some of the pressure. I am sure that huge OT winner against Vancouver on Monday night will help ease some more pressure off Myers and maybe lead to him getting better in his overall game and stats, especially the plus minus department.
Secondly is the play of Thomas Vanek. Vanek from my viewpoint has been the best Sabre the past two games. His play on a line with Derek Roy and Rookie sensation Tyler Ennis, has been spectacular and reminded me a bit back to his rookie year. I have been on Vanek the past few seasons for dogging it and not playing up to his contract, if he can continue playing the way he has the past few games he may just live up to that huge contract. Vanek dazzled the Sabres faithful on Saturday night with a highlight reel goal that even brought me off my seat in that OT. Vanek needs to keep up this play for the Sabres to be successful the rest of this season.
Ryan Miller seems to have returned to his old form since coming back from his injury. He looked a bit tentative early on but has been very reliable since coming back. The Sabres need Miller healthy to have any shot at a post season berth.
Some other Sabres thoughts from the past 5 games. Despite a great record of 4-0-1 in those games the biggest problem that I see is that the Sabres gave up points in each of those games. Granted points given up to out of conference teams like Vancouver don’t really bother me, but giving up points against teams like the Rangers and Leafs, two teams who may be battling it out for the final playoff spot come April, could come back and haunt them.
Finally, I must comment on how GREAT the overtime was in the Vancouver game on Monday night. Just simply put it was one of the best and most entertaining OT’s I have seen in quite some time. People will say that the NHL should go to a 4 on 4 format all the time, but I disagree, as coaches will find a way to have defensive systems in place to shut down teams again. The OT was some old fire wagon hockey so to speak, with both teams going up and down ice having scoring chances off the rush and keeping the fans on the edge of their seats. All the Sabres need now is to have all of their remaining games go to OT if these wins keep piling up.
About the Author
Written by George Kouvalis
A huge fan of sports who loves to travel for major events. I've seen my fair share of major games and events including three Olympics, Wimbledon, The Masters etc.... Always up for a road trip or a drink to talk over sports or pro wrestling, in any city I am in or online. Favorite Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Bulls, San Francisco 49ers, Toronto Argonauts, Manchester United, and of course the teams I blog for, the Texas Rangers and Buffalo Sabres. Follow me on twitter at the handle georgekouvalis