A win can never be bad, right? The Buffalo Sabres (10-5-0) won at home against the Ottawa Senators (7-9-1) on Friday night. The Buffalo Sabres won. No Sabres player suffered any kind of relevant injury. Buffalo triumphed over the hated Senators at home in front of a frothing fan base.
Now that we’ve talked about all that is well and good, we kind of have to address the proverbial “Elephant in the Room”. Jhonas Enroth started in goal for the Sabres, despite early expectations that Ryan Miller would draw the start. All Enroth did was stop 36 of the 37 shots on goal he faced. He was, for lack of a better word, brilliant.
Ryan Miller is a world-class goaltender. Despite my random idea last year that the Sabres should have dealt Miller to the Flyers for Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, Miller is the franchise player for the Sabres. Miller and Thomas Vanek are really the only Sabres in the orbit of players who get paid at the highest level. Until we evaluated the early results of this season, Miller was regarded as underpaid while Vanek was regarded as overpaid.
My how the tides have turned. Thomas Vanek is playing at the level that the Sabres thought he could when they matched the Oilers crazy offer to him when he was a restricted free agent. Even though he didn’t make a huge impact in the box score tonight (1 assist, +1), his presence has forced opposing teams to change up their tactics.
As far as Friday’s game went, the Sabres got out-shot and didn’t score on the power play. But they dominated the other facets of the game. Derek Roy had a goal and and 2 assists and Matt Ellis, Jordan Leopold, Luke Adam, and Ville Leino all scored goals. Drew Stafford proved to be crucial with three assists.
The Sabres got up 2-0 early in the first period behind goals from Roy and Ellis. Enroth was his usual brilliant self and that was that. It was beautiful, even if the Sabres offense and especially the power play, looked sloppy and even tired at times. But a win is a win is a win. And a win at home in front of the fans on Friday night is always a huge boost.
The Sabres are busy tomorrow, they play the Bruins in Boston on Saturday.