Sabres-Caps post-game thoughts

I don’t have a lot of insight on tonight’s game other than saying the Sabres definitely earned that win and that Thomas Vanek’s game winner was a beauty. Sometimes you look at his contract and say “this is fucking ridiculous” and then you watch goals like the one he had tonight and say “so THAT’S why they signed the offer sheet!” The Caps were not bad tonight and they played well enough to get the one point but it’s hard to win when you take three double minors and play as bad as they did in the second period. Not to mention they made a few bad defensive plays and Buffalo could have won it a lot earlier. Vanek’s goal in OT was amazing but the rookie in John Carlson showed on that play. He got absolutely destroyed and Holtby had no chance.

The Sabres defense (Montaor and Leopold in particular) shut down our top line for most of the game which led to Boudreau shaking things up and putting Johansson with Ovechkin and Backstrom and Chimera with Backstrom and Semin to start the third period. Believe it or not, the second combination worked very well. Semin is still playing well both on the penalty kill and on the forecheck so I was glad to see that despite him not scoring tonight. I was also glad to see Backstrom shoot the puck more (had four shots tonight and a goal on a quick wrist shot) because he’s been getting more points through assists than goals. I wanted to see more out of Ovechkin but I noticed that Johansson was looking a lot more effective and creating a lot more chances when he got moved up to the “first line.” I get why Boudreau made the switch but I’m hoping it isn’t a permanent thing.

More thoughts

– Both goaltenders were solid tonight. Miller was good and made a nice breakaway stop on Ovechkin in the first period (where he deked too many times…) while Holtby made 24 stops including a couple nice glove saves on Kaleta and Vanek. It’s good to know we have another solid goalie to rely on in the organzation.

– As I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to win when you take 4 penalties (three being double minors) compared to only one for the Sabres. The Sabres PP wasn’t good but they cashed in eventually and I was surprised they didn’t win on a PP goal that stared OT (because of another double minor). Speaking of which, I liked seeing Kaleta get cross-checked as much as the next guy but Chimera needs to control his emotions better.

– Myers is definitely having a sophomore slump. A lot of bad misplays from him and one led to Alzner’s first goal of the season. However, Montador and Leopold played very well so the Sabres might not have to worry about it too much. I’m speaking from an outsiders prospective of course so maybe those two don’t look like this every day.

– Backstrom was far and away our best player tonight. He was all over the place creating scoring chances, winning faceoffs (11/12 on the night) and taking more of an initiative to shoot the puck.

– My guess is Jeff Schultz is next in line to score for us seeing how Alzner broke his scoring slump tonight.

Not much else to say about this game other than a loss was bound to happen at sometime. Hey, it could have been a lot worse.

Three Stars:

1. Thomas Vanek

2. Jordan Leopold

3. Nicklas Backstrom

 

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