Posts tagged “Sabres”

Wings 5, Sabres 0

Update (11:06 AM): Big fail on my part: not mentioning Pavel’s hitting 700 points last night. Big milestone for a great player. Have another 700 in you, Pavs?  - Matt

That’s More Like It: The Wings played pretty much exactly the kind of game you’d like to see out of them in their situation: with the Division-leading Blues playing on the same night, they left nothing to chance. They capitalized on Sabre mistakes and put the puck in the net five times to earn an emphatic win. Sure, it was against a weak Eastern opponent rather than a statement made against a Western or Divisional rival, but that’s part of the point. In a game that otherwise meant nothing, the Wings kept themselves from falling further back.

They can now take a one-point lead in the Central with a win tonight.

Jimmy: Wasn’t tested all that much by the Sabres, but acquitted himself well when he was, turning aside all 27 shots he faced. It looks like his little break is paying off.

Datsyuk: Three points on the night, including a beautifully accurate backhanded pass to Franzen to set up the Wings’ second goal. He looked great, and his line was the best of the night.

Zetterberg: Finally got a goal and it was a pretty one: he sniped the top corner back across Miller’s body against the flow of the play. More of that please, Hank.

Bertuzzi: Turning up the heat, and reminding us of his value.

Ryan Miller: I guess it’s probably just a fluke season for him, but it’s hard to watch how far he’s slipped. I hope for his sake he can find his game again. And that the Sabres surround him with competent hockey players.

Mickey Redmond reported that Miller went down the tunnel at the Joe and shattered his stick against something down there. I don’t blame him.

Drew Miller: Pretty cool that he was able to get a point against his brother finally. The two are probably too professional to let it bother them, which is good, or else Drew’s assisting on the goal that got Ryan yanked could make the next family gathering pretty awkward.

15 Consecutive Home Wins: It’s pretty cool when the Wings can break a franchise record. The bar’s pretty high.

One Downer: I have to point out that before the Wings’ outbursts, the Sabres generated a saddening amount of pressure in the Wings’ zone. It was mostly in the form of grinding, but a team in as much trouble as the Sabres shouldn’t be able to do that against the Wings, even if it wasn’t for much of the game.

Leino: I don’t think it lasted, but early in the game, I heard fans booing Leino. Which is stupid. He’s not worth it, particularly because the Wings’ separation from him wasn’t acrimonious.

Next: The Wings face off against a Stars team that lost to a tight game to the Blues last night. They’ve won just two of their last five and are third in the Pacific, but they’re 13-8-1 at home. So, the Wings need to replicate last night’s effort if they can.

Game Day Notes: vs. Buffalo

… This is the second meeting  between the Wings and Sabres this  year. The Wings won the last meeting 4-1 last month.

… The Sabres are 2-4-0 in 2012, with their wins coming in two of their last three home games.

… That hints at their current main trouble: winning on the road. They’ve lost 8 straight away from Buffalo, where they’re 11-9-5. On the road, they’re now 8-11-0. Because of hockey’s sense of humor, it wouldn’t shock me if they end that skid tonight with the Wings poised to break a team record in consecutive home victories.

… On the plus side, the Sabres haven’t won in 10 trips to the Joe, last winning there on October 13th, 2006, when Megan and I were dating and in attendance.

… Their 19-20-5 record is good for 43 points and fourth in the Northeast Division. That puts them in 11th in the East and 7 points back of 8th-place Pittsburgh.

… Former Red Wing Ville Leino, patron saint of Red Wings healthy scratches, has just 10 points in 33 games. That’s $600,000 a point, though as far as the cap is concerned, it’s only $450,000.

… The Sabres will likely be without Brayden McNabb and  Robyn Regehr. Christian Ehrhoff, Andrej Sekera, Colin Stuart, Tyler Ennis and Corey Tropp are out for sure.

… One guy to watch out for is Patrick Kaleta. Here’s just one example of why.

… Ryan Miller should be the starter for the Sabres. He’s been underwhelming this year, with a GAA near 3.00 and an 11-12-2 record. Despite those numbers, he’s still not a guy to take lightly and has it in him, in theory, to own a game.

… The Wings are coming off an overtime win over the Blackhawks on Saturday. They were outplayed in that game for long stretches of that game, however, and should be looking to control more of this one.

… They’re three points back of Chicago now, thanks to the Hawks’ 4-3 win over San Jose last night. They can pass the Blues with a win tonight, however, if they win or get a point, assuming the Blues lose in regulation to the Stars.

… The team remains without Patrick Eaves, who’s jaw’s still healing. Khan says there’s nothing new on that front. Mike Commodore is also still sore.

… The lineup will be the same tonight. The skate was optional this morning.

… The same lineup means Jimmy Howard will get another start.

… The Wings face a scheduling oddity that has them headed to Dallas after this one, so they run a risk of looking  past a struggling Eastern team to a Western rival. It’s important, however, that they stay focused on the task at hand against the Sabres and come out with a win before turning attention on the Stars. They’re in a tight race and need every point they can secure.

The Sabres represent a classic trap that they need to avoid walking into by playing their best.

Wings 4, Sabres 1

Well, The First Was Fun: This game featured a fairly entertaining first period that was followed by a pair of very slow-seeming, boring ones. The Wings came out of the gates pretty well and mostly controlled play in the first, scoring three times and preventing the Sabres from doing a whole lot. Then they opted to dial back the energy level in the second, and the Sabres pathetically failed to ramp up theirs. The third featured more lively teams relative to the second period, but it was still not Grade A hockey on either side. I found myself looking at the clock and wondering how there could possibly be so much time left.

Jimmy: [Jimmy’s Good Game Boilerplate]

Conner: Very energetic and entrusted with responsibility right away by Babcock as he was on the penalty kill. I guess I would say he made more of an impression than Eaves has, which I hate to say. I’m a big Eaves fan.

Enroth: Not a good goalie and the Wings did a fair job of showing that. I think a more aggressive second period could have made it 6-0.

Franzen: Scored a nice goal and looked assertive around the net. Not loafing at the moment.

Zetterberg: Sweet steal at the blueline to set up the feed to a streaking Filppula on the Wings’ third. That’s been the frustrating thing about Z’s season so far: periods of uninspired play punctuated by those moments of brilliance. More brilliance, less uninspired, please.

Filppula: Great set up by Zetterberg, but how hot is he to finish like that? It happened so fast I’m not entirely sure he was able to aim. It looked like he just unleashed a shot and scored. I love seeing that out of him. Old Filppula would have tried to dish that to Hudler or something.

Penalties: I could have done without the three consecutive penalties in the second. Knowing how penalties derail this team, you’d think they’d be more careful about avoiding taking them.

The Finish: The Wings let off the gas too much toward the end of the game and let the Sabres really come at them. They probably had enough lead-padding to prevent disaster even in the worst case, but I’d like to see them finish more games better than that. Obviously, any opponent has it in them to make things difficult if they really elevate their game in a desperate bid at a comeback, but the Wings ought to be able to stifle that without relying so heavily on Jimmy Howard.

Next: They fly to Denver for a game against the Avs tomorrow night. Hope they can make it 8 straight.

Game Day: @ Buffalo

Really sorry, but I won’t be able to do a notes post today. My sister is in town for a volleyball tournament and Megan and I have to head out soon to catch that. My gameday blogging plans are thrown off track by that and the fact that we’ll be busy later in the day.

I do still hope to catch the game, though.

Wings 3, Sabres 2 (OT)

Big win: It wasn’t as pretty as Thursday night’s but this was a big win for the Wings. It sets up the possibility of pulling ahead of the Flames by three tomorrow night. Now we just need the Canucks to beat Calgary tonight.

Howard: “Rebounds” is the word today, though I’ll go easy on him with that first one. The replay seems to show an ever-so-slight redirection on the initial shot as Hecht comes across. The rebound Jimmy allowed then is more understandable.

But the rebound on the second goal was inexcusable. You cannot kick the puck to the slot like that and expect to get away with it. I understand that rebound control is hard, but if that’s not the #1 priority for him and Jim Bedard, there’s something wrong.

That said, the scenario leading to the second goal shouldn’t have happened and when it did, the Wings were flustered, so that played a role in the goal as well.

Fast start: I hope the Wings keep up this burgeoning trend of starting out the game so fast. They lacked the followup they had Thursday last night, but jumping out to a lead like that would help them down the stretch. Much better than giving up early goals, obviously, and better than letting it remain close into the third, where anything can happen. We’ve been on them all year to play a full 60 minutes and the best way to start that is to come out flying like that.

Zetterberg: A bit of a letdown after his game against the Wild, but not bad. Five shots is a good night, even without a goal. His TOI’s been a little lower lately and that goes for last night as well. This injury theory definitely holds water, but I wonder what it is. He doesn’t seem to be skating any different, so groin seems out. Wrist or back are the other things that come to mind. May be interesting to read about his practice schedule this week, with the short break between games.

Torres: Apparently studied at the Matt Cooke School of Headhunting. He went after Helm high at one point, but managed to land only a glancing blow, fortunately. That could have been really bad.

Myers: I didn’t notice him all that much, but I admit I didn’t look for him as much as I said I would. Whatever good he did in the game pretty much got wiped out by that delay of game penalty in the third that led to the Wings winning in OT. So in the big head-to-head matchup between two leading Calder candidates, I’d call it a wash.

Eaves: Heck of an individual effort on his goal, eh? Bad gamble by Miller, but credit to Eaves for managing to get it up like that. He’d become a little like Drew Miller, fading into the background a bit as the hype in the fanbase hit its peak. Good to see him put one in the net.

Oblivious refs: It wasn’t just the blown call on the puck hitting the netting. They also missed an obvious too many men call on Detroit in the second period and a number of other obvious calls. Not sure what Kowal and Pollack were watching, but it wasn’t the game.

Next: It’s not overstating things to call tomorrow night’s game the most important of the season to this point. Unfortunately, it’s just as important to the Flames. The Wings need to bring their best, even though Calgary won’t be rested. Two points, in regulation.