It wasn’t always pretty, but the Buffalo Sabres pulled away from the Philadelphia Flyers and won 5-2 today at First Niagara Center. Thomas Vanek was in on every goal, scoring 2 of them, and Steve Ott scored in his first game. Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson had the other tallies.
It felt like Buffalo came to play in the first, always close to the puck and pushing play up the ice. They fell away from that early in the second period, however, and that’s when the Flyers took over and got their 2 goals. Vanek tied it later though, and the Flyers’ dead legs didn’t do them any favors in the third.
Who I liked: Vanek, of course, and Cody Hodgson came on as the game went on, too. Drew Stafford attempted to fight Scott Hartnell the second time the stupidest Flyer tried to ram a Sabre into the boards from behind. Miller was very solid in the net, with both goals being deflected or screened. He wasn’t grabbing as many pucks and freezing it as often as he usually does, but that may be the rust. Ennis won 64% of his faceoffs, and Hodgson and Grigorenko were both positive as well.
What I didn’t like: John Scott was on the ice for 3 shifts totaling 2:10. Why? I realize Gerbe and Leino are both out but if you don’t trust him to play, dress someone else.
Things I still don’t believe: Vanek played 19 minutes, and took 9 shots. NINE. SHOTS. I dream of games like that from him.
I’ll see you again tomorrow night, as Buffalo is heading to Toronto to face the Leafs.