I’m so excited about tonight’s game. I love the way the Sabres have played the last 3 games and think that there’s going to be that little extra energy in the building tonight. I think it’s a big game for the Sabres to continue this ride and get another game over .500 and plus I hate the Leafs.
There’s an article today on Thomas Vanek and it is really more just a numbers piece and not so much an article, but it points out just how valuable Thomas Vanek has been to the Sabres. He’s scored 28.9% of the our goals, not including anything in shootouts. That’s absurd. And where you want to attribute that to the lack of others scoring to support him that’s fine, but this team plays better when Vanek scores and need him to keep doing so tonight in is a pretty big game. If you really want a good Vanek piece go check out Top Shelf.
I’m hoping that Pominville’s three points from the other night carries over. He quietly had a great game and probably made the play of the game keeping the puck in the zone that led to Vanek’s second goal.
I’m also interested in seeing how Nathan Gerbe does again tonight. I think it’ll be interesting for him in his second home game in a divisional rivalry with a sea of Toronto fans in the 100 level. I’m not so worried about his goals right now. I like that he’s skating around hard, finishing checks and creating chances. I know it’s premature, but watching them play Tampa Bay the other night and Martin St. Louis felt like he could turn into that type of player. I just don’t see how they’re going to send him back to Portland for long, if at all.
Jerry Sullivan wrote one of his quibbling back and forth articles yesterday that wasn’t my favorite but brought up some relevant points. This team needs Ryan Miller (and Thomas Vanek) to be their best players on a night in and night out basis. There’s times when that happens and they look unstoppable, but at times they’re beyond frustrating. I love Ryan Miller, but at times he is a microcosm of this team and city. He does let in soft goals and get out of position in weird time and needs to elevate his play to a high, consistent level. I believe he will as this team continues to get of age in front of him. Vanek has gotten so much better of being that model of consistency. Even in the Penguins game when the announcers were killing him; he was working hard, playing hard and those are things I can live with.
The point is that this team needs to find consistency and I think it starts with tonight in a big divisional game. I just need to see what I’ve seen the last three games. Good physical play, sound defensive plays, killing penalties, a good forecheck and scoring opportunity goals. Those things win hockey games and I think this team is finally starting to know that an ugly goal and a pretty goal still put one on scoreboard.