Buffalo vs. Montreal, Thursday 12/1
The boys in the AGH sweaters made it a clean sweep of their 3-game road trip with a truly gutsy performance last night at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Another big night from Soups and Timmah! with three points apiece, including an absolutely brilliant setup by Connolly for the game winner in OT to Campbell. More stunning than the Sabres recent play considering the injuries to 3 top players (Briere, Dumont and MIller) is the complete reversal of fortunes for these two guys. It's almost worth it to just sit here and gush like a school-girl over how well they're playing right now, but I make a really ugly woman, so, on second-thought, scratch that idea. I will say though that if they keep this up I'm going to lose what's left of my hair. These past few games have been real nail-biters, as well as being fabulously entertaining.
Points of Interest:
- Kalinin played 11:10 last night, nearly doubling his ice-time from the game before. I noted him playing with Campbell in the third period and both seemed to play better in their own zone. This may be a pairing Ruff should explore for the future.
- The defensive pairs, other than Lydman/Tallinder, have been in a state of flux mostly because of Kalinin's poor play. This is beginning to have a negative impact on McKee's game (he's panicking with the puck too much). So, the quicker we can find a partner that brings out the best in Tri, the better.
- Adam Mair should get some love for his performance last night. He really fore-checked hard, battled inthe corners and, with Goose, gave the Habs a lot of trouble in their own end. They may not have had a lot of chances, but their shifts were always something to build momentum from.
- The Sabres special teams continue to bail them out of tight situations. Last night both the Power Play (Drury's highlight-reel roofer over Theodore's shoulder) and the Penalty Kill (1:45 long 5 on 3 that kept the game 2-1) played a major role in their getting to OT for Campbell's GWG.
- Biron made a couple of game savers in the third. he was wandering to play the puck, which is nearly always an adventure. But, as I was saying to someone in chat last night after the game, I think that's a sign that Marty's really into the game and reading the play well. So, I'm ok with the trade off. He reminds me of Belfour that way. That's the only way he reminds me of Eddie, but you take the comparisions when you can get them.
- Tim Connolly may have a new nickname soon... I may start calling him The Mini-Modano. He doesn't have Mike's size, but their skating styles are similar as are their vision and skill level. Tim's more of a passer than Mike, but they both have wicked, hard shots.
- Derek Roy led the team in TOI last night, and I thought he deserved it. Over 22 minutes. He and Thomas Vanek had some jump and a little snarl. They both were guilty of being too fancy with the puck, especially considering how well-coached the Habs are with getting their sticks on pucks. Very impressive they are, it creates a lot of turnovers for them.
- Drury's goal was of the kind that we hired him to score. That's what a captain is supposed to do. Score big goals in big games at crucial times. Huge goal...it may turn out to be one of those we look at as a turning point for this season.
- Our team defense is becoming scary. Tonight we limited the Canadiens to just 18 shots in regulation, that includes taking an uncharacterstic 7 minor penalties.
- According to one of the posters over on HF, Campbell has ridiculous stamina, and needs very little time between shifts and is rarely winded. If he can round his defensive game out as well as his offensive one is right now, he could wind up being a Rafalski-like player. Another reason why I think pairing him with Tri may pay big dividends.
That's enough for now. As always I heartily encourage any Sabres fans to check out the Buffalo Forum at HfBoards.com. The guys there are passionate and friendly, a good group of internet buddies to have. They've taught me a lot over the years and without them these posts wouldn't be nearly as good.