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.
Buffalo is visiting Flyers for the first time tonight, with a 7:30pm game on everyone’s favorite channel, Versus. Buffalo is flying high after a resounding win on Saturday against the Kovy-less Devils. The boys are on the mend, with Shaone Morrisonn and Craig Rivet both practicing and Pominville steadily improving. Only Rivet *might* play tonight, as there’s no need to rush anyone back with the way Butler, Sekerea and Weber played in their absence.
Philly lost last night to the Blue Jackets, with an effort that made their coach angry.
“The first 40 minutes there was nothing there,” Laviolette continued. “There was no jam to our game. We played mindless hockey without any energy, without any passion.”
‘Mindless’, ouch. It’s possible that Philly (being who they are) come in with bodies (and elbows) flying. Just noticed that there was some rough stuff at the end of the CBJ game, as noted by Broad Street Hockey:
Something to look out for, though: Scott Hartnell received a ten-minute misconduct at the end of the game, possibly for hitting a ref with his stick.
Yeah, sounds about right for him. For the rest of the team, it appears that Pronger is still feeling the effects of knee surgery and is not at full speed, and Danny Briere was a penalty machine against the Jackets. Also, wondering if we’ll see any fisticuffs from Jody Shelley, assuming he doesn’t end up in the press box.
Just found out Luke Adam is called up for tonight, but not sure for who. Stay tuned.
edit: Rob Niedermayer is out, didn’t travel with the team as per WGR550. Well there you go. Good chance for Adam to shine with the goalie sinkhole of Philly on tap.
edit again: The Niedermayers had a baby! Congratulations, guys.
Curious to see if Scott Hartnell gets any ‘supplementary discipline’ from the NHL for his attempted beatdown of Roman Hamrlik at the end of last nights loss to the Habs. He got 5+2 (but for roughing, not instigating) and it seems an obvious case of message sending in a game that was out of hand. There was a lot of jabbing and prodding and bumping from both sides…say what you want, though, it DOES make the next game must-see TV.