It’s safe to say the Sabres are back.
The team secured it’s second consecutive home victory Monday night against the Vancouver Canucks at the HSBC Arena, as Tyler Myers scored the overtime winner in the Sabres’ 4-3 victory.
“I was fortunate to be able to get it,” Myers said following the contest. “I’m happy I was able to redeem myself [from a “dumb crosscheck”, for which he was penalized prior to his goal].”
During his post-game press conference, head coach Lindy Ruff commented on Myers’ improvement by saying, “He’s learning it’s not as easy the second time around. Guys know what you’re gonna do at times [and] run you over at times. It was good to see he got rewarded.”
Exactly. Sophomore season is tough, but Myers is managing to improve as his goes on, which will only help the Sabres.
Coming off Saturday’s big win against Washington, Thomas Vanek also played perhaps his “best game ever as a Sabre”, according to analyst Mike Robitaille. Vanek was the number one star in tonight’s game, and he didn’t even need to score. Being on the ice for three of Buffalo’s four goals and assisting on two was good enough. He was available to his team when they needed him, and it certainly paid off.
“It’d be hard on Mrs. Vanek, but I think Thomas should have twins every night…he’s been awesome,” joked commentator Rick Jeanneret, in reference to Vanek and wife Ashley’s two new additions, twin boys Luka and Kade, born early this afternoon.
All fans should agree.
Buffalo 4, Vancouver 3
In the opening period, the Sabres got on the board first with a tip-in by rookie forward Tyler Ennis. Being a little guy, Ennis takes a risk parking himself right next to the net as often as he does, but more than once he’s been able to bury the puck past the opposing goaltender. He’s doing something right, and it shows.
With just minutes remaining in the first, veteran Rob Niedermayer dished the puck to Cody McCormick, who beat Vancouver’s backup netminder Cory Schneider. Roberto Luongo sat on the Canuck bench, as he also did the only time the two teams met in 2009-10. Interesting.
The Canucks went on the power play midway through the second period, forcing the Sabres to go on the penalty kill. Vancouver sent out a line of snipers, who fired multiple shots on Ryan Miller, who had somewhat of a quiet evening despite the three Canuck goals. Daniel Sedin, the Canucks’ leading scorer, blindsided Miller to put his club within one. The goal was Sedin’s remarkable 12th of the season. His twin brother, Henrik, also earned assists on all three Vancouver goals.
Steve Montador certainly has a knack for one-timers. He scored a beauty Saturday night, and scored a replica of it tonight to put Buffalo back ahead by two over halfway through the second.
By the time the third period rolled around, the Sabres might have been a little too confident with their lead as the Canucks took control and added a pair of goals midway through the final stanza. Defenseman Alex Edler fired a screenshot and beat Miller on the power play to pull Vancouver within one, and four minutes later Mikael Samuelsson tipped in the puck for the tie.
But it wasn’t enough for Vancouver. The tie lasted throughout the remainder of regulation and carried over into the extra period. With less than a minute to go, Myers sent the puck home past Schneider for the win.
The guys seem to have gotten their groove back, and it’s about time. They played smart hockey by winning face-offs and getting pucks to the net. They shot when given the opportunity.
Not every second of the 65 (well, almost) minute game was perfect, but life’s not perfect. Now, Buffalo needs to focus on what lies ahead in the coming week and beyond.
“Beating two division leaders is good for our confidence,” said Ennis.
And the two points didn’t hurt either. The Sabres now have 17 points and are moving right on up with still over 60 games to go in the regular season.
Are Buffalo’s past two victories enough to continue their win streak? The team will find out Wednesday when they head to DC to take on the Capitals once again for a 7 p.m. start.