Lightning Strikes the Sabres Twice
For the days leading up to the Sabres second home game one thing was discussed more then anything else, strike first blood. After being shut out in their first meeting it was important for the Sabres to get on the board early and get things moving for them offensively. They did just that scoring two goals within the first five minutes of the game, unfortunately this was about the only offense the Sabres generated the entire game.
Thomas Vanek put in his seventh goal of the year just two minutes into the game. This was accompanied by a beautiful backhanded goal by Brad Boyes only thirty seconds later. It seemed like the Sabres had accomplished what they set out to do, and now all they had to do was keep it up.
There is always a little bit of worry that falls over First Niagara Center when the Sabres start off a game like this. Whether the fans like it or not when the Sabres have a lead early in a game, they tend to sit back and get comfortable which always gets them in over their heads. Tuesday night was no exception.
The second half of the period clearly belonged to the Lightning. The Sabres came out of the game in the first five minutes not only scoring goals, but throwing their weight around. Big hits were being made at both ends of the ice and it was a much-needed change from last game. It put the Lightning back on their heels and allowed the Sabres to take the lead, unfortunately after Boyes’ goal Buffalo dialed back their intensity and the Lightning found their stride.
Vincent Lecavalier put Tampa on the board first, and then Nate Thompson scored from behind the net just one minute before the end of the period. How did he score from behind the net? Well he wasn’t trying to put it in from there, he was trying to feed a pass out in front. Unfortunately, Christian Ehrhoff was standing in front of the net, out of position and not covering his man, and was able to lend his skate to the Lightning forward to tie the game going into the first intermission.
While Ehrhoff has been highly regarded coming into Buffalo, he has yet to show the fans anything to really get excited about. Coach Ruff comments on the big gun that he has from the point, but like Blanca from “Street Fighter 2” if all you have is power you can be defended against easily. For the money he is being paid, he needs to stop misplaying two on one rushes, pick up his man in the defensive end, and start using his body to knock opponents off the puck.
The rest of the game was all Tampa, with Stamkos putting in the only goal in the second and then Ryan Malone sealing the deal with a goal 18:37 seconds in to the third. Nathan Gerbe’s never quit attitude brought the Sabres within one with less than a minute left. As someone sitting at the game, it was a nice reward for staying until the bitter end, to at least see another Sabres goal after not seeing anything exciting for fifty-four minutes.
A final score of 4-3 left the Sabres still winless at home, and looking forward to Columbus on Thursday. The Blue Jackets, who only have one win going into tonights game should be a win that is well within Buffalo’s grasp, despite having trouble with this club in past years.
Lets Go Buff-A-Lo!!!