There was a time when the Sabres would have found a way to blow a game like this simply because Ottawa was the opponent. By my count, from the end of the lockout to the end of the 2009-10 season the Sabres were 11-22-3 against their Ontarian nemesis, with losses coming any painful way you can imagine: blowouts, shootouts, offensive ineptitude, and untimely defensive lapses.
But those were the old days. After finding a way to scratch out two more points last night, the Sabres have now earned 13 of a possible 14 points from the Senators dating back to the beginning of last season.
The Senators opened the scoring in the first period when Milan Michalek blew past the defense to roof a backhander past Jhonas Enroth, but unlike the Sabres of old, they had no designs on rolling over to Ottawa. They remained patient until the middle of the second period, then took the lead with two quick goals within 2:16. Ottawa got the equalizer less than a minute and a half later but the Sabres dominated the third period to earn the road point, then claimed the second point for good measure when Derek Roy scored in round six of the shootout to end it.
I'm not sure where the Sabres found the antidote to the poison that is the Ottawa Senators, but I hope they found a lifetime supply of it. Why, it's like they're seeing blue and white jerseys with leaves on them instead of the red that has tormented them for so long!
- The Roy-Leino-Stafford line has looked great all week and once again found its way to the scoresheet with Roy scoring on a tip-in of a Leino shot. I think it's fair to say they've been the Sabres' best line over the last three or four games. Looks like Leino is more comfortable on the wing after all...
- That's now two straight solid games for Corey Tropp. I thought he played well Friday night, and obviously Lindy Ruff agreed, increasing his ice time over three minutes to 9:53. He may not be hitting like Kaleta, but he's been a quality call-up and has fit right in alongside fellow hard workers Cody McCormick and Matt Ellis.
- Marvelous effort by Nathan Gerbe on the second Buffalo goal. Obviously offended that someone would dare knock him down behind the net, Gerbe got up and shoved the offending player right back, swiping the puck in the process and getting off two shots, the second of which produced a rebound that Jordan Leopold banged home. Yet another example of why we love players that work as hard as Gerbe.
- I was a little stunned when I looked up at the TV and saw that Jhonas Enroth got the start in goal. We were all so sure that Enroth played at home Friday night because Lindy was going to allow Ryan Miller to find his game on the road, weren't we? Enroth continued his strong start to 2011-12, turning aside 25 of 27 shots and running his record to 4-0. I still don't believe Miller is in danger of losing his job, but I have to wonder - when is the last time a healthy Miller sat on the bench for two straight games?
- Hey, remember when some Tim Connolly defenders tried to point out that he was so valuable to the penalty killing unit that re-signing him was worth some small amount of consideration? (Guilty.) The Sabres' PK continues to be outstanding regardless - a 2-for-2 showing last night leaving the league's best penalty killing unit at 93.3%, allowing only three goals in 45 chances.
- After playing one of his better games against Calgary Friday night, Tyler Myers reverted to the form we've sadly come to expect so far this season: bad turnovers, defensive lapses, and looking indecisive and confused. Especially of note was Michalek's goal, on which Myers seemed completely surprised by Michalek's burst of speed as he skated right by him. For the record, I'm not worried about Myers: he started last year slowly as well, and look how well he played in the second half of the season. Even so, it's still rather disheartening to watch.
- Terrible line change on the second Ottawa goal, as Myers jumped over the boards late and had no chance to catch Erik Condra on a breakaway. I didn't see it well enough on TV and can't find a replay to support it, but during the intermission report on WGR, Christian Ehrhoff got the blame.