The hockey gods lobbed a hanging curveball over the Buffalo Sabres’ plate (if you’ll pardon the mixed sports metaphors) and they made solid contact, winning 4-1 in a mostly-empty Phillips Arena. Atlanta was returning from a west coast trip, missing several key players (such as Bogosian and Pavelec) and Buffalo took advantage. Tyler Ennis opened the scoring by getting behind the D and sniped one in off the post. Great play by Montador on the outlet pass. Ennis very nearly scored again after the faceoff at center ice, and was definitely working well with Rob Niedermayer and Mike Grier. You got a little worried as the period went on, as the Sabres continued to pour on the shots but didn’t get any more goals.
That changed in the second period, though. Just one minute in, Tyler Myers gets his first of the year while on the power play, as he took a one-time shot off a Chris Butler pass and buried it. Thomas Vanek was in his office providing the screen. Butler had a great game to my eyes, including some solid defensive plays where he didn’t get panicky. Cody McCormick got his second goal of the year soon after, cleaning up a rebound, of which there were many.
The shutout was not to be, however, as Tobias Enstrom got one past Miller on the power play early in the third. There was a screen in front, couldn’t make out who it was, but not a bad goal to allow. By the way, love the Thrashers’ broadcasters getting excited for Ron Hainsey (6’3″, 210lbs) knocking someone down, when it was Tyler Ennis (5’9″, 163lbs)…yeah, he should be able to do that. Thomas Vanek got it back, though, blistering one home after he got behind the Atlanta defense.
The theme throughout the night was shots – Buffalo had a ton, didn’t give up many, and the guys that NEEDED to shoot did (Myers, Vanek). There was very little to complain about. Let’s see, though, if they keep it up back at home. Friday, Ottawa, be there.