Sometimes, you need to let a game percolate overnight in your mind. As 2-1 wins go, a lot happened in Thursday's game against the Coyotes. What's bouncing in my mind today?
---Mike Grier. Remember all the last-minute panic last season? Didn't happen last night with Grier calmly getting the puck out of the zone in the final seconds while working with Jochen Hecht and Paul Gaustad on a reunion line. Cracked Lindy Ruff: "It was like you put the band back together. ... Those guys did a real nice job for us. In close games, they can make the difference."
---Ryan Miller. The guy played great last night as the Coyotes had several odd-man rushes, including a 3-on-1 when they were shorthanded (bad pinch by Chris Butler). Ruff suggested it was easy to overlook Miller's game because so much of the postgame talk was about the struggling offense. But you shouldn't. Miller has a 1.47 GAA and .927 save percentage in the two games.
---Tyler Myers. Big dude should start scouting apartments in Buffalo right now. Forget about that nine-game "tryout." Kelowna, it was nice knowing you. In the first two games, Myers hasn't been one of the Sabres' top six defenseman. He's been their best one. Period. And alongside Myers, Henrik Tallinder isn't looking so bad anymore. Great pinch by Myers set up the tying goal.
Who's struggling the most right now? Andrej Sekera. Yeesh. When Toni Lydman is ready, Ruff has a tough decision. I'm not so sure I want to make my stud 19-year-old change partners so soon and automatically sit Tallinder. Sekera and Butler have had some brutal moments the first two games. I might sit one of them.
---Patrick Kaleta. The Coyotes were whining but the big hit on Petr Prucha was clean. Can't have your head down. Maybe Kaleta jumped slightly but it looked like he didn't come off his feet until contact began. The guy is a master agitator who knows how to draw opponents into fits of stupidity. Back in the day, you wondered how smallish guys like Dale Hunter and Ken Linseman would do it but they were dirty players who yapped with their mouths and cracked with their sticks. Kaleta has the mouth and can drive opponents crazy like that too but teams are responding wildly to his legitimate hits. Since when does it say in the rulebook you can't check anybody in this game anymore?
---The offense. The Sabres have outshot their two opponents, 74-41. But goals are even at 3-3. Three goals on 74 shots. Yikes. The power play is 2 of 14. They spent a ton of time on it at practice this week. Just have to keep working on it. Would be nice if Derek Roy and especially Jason Pominville would acknowledge the season has started. Said Ruff: "I'm don't want to stand here and talk about chances. I want to talk about the goals they scored, not the chances they created." Here here.
taggedNHL | Sabres