Almost Immediate Reactions: Carolina 1, Buffalo 3
Just a quick post on my thoughts from the first Sabres preseason game Monday night at the F’N Center. I’ll resort to list form to make this as quick and painless as possible.
– Drew MacIntyre looked fairly solid in net tonight. I can see why scouting reports say he’d have a shot at a full-time NHL backup job. I don’t blame the one goal Carolina scored on him at all. I was in Section 114 Row 3, so I had a good look at the events leading up to it. It was a nice backhand by Brandon Sutter that resulted from a typical Sabres defense fail.
-I’m impressed that the Sabres took a grand total of two penalties, of which only one resulted in a PP opportunity for Carolina. Not bad considering this was the first game. Keep it up boys.
-The line of Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta still has great chemistry. I think Gaustad should be shopped, but his contract makes it highly unlikely that would happen. Also, Joe Yerdon needs to get his head examined. Gaustad is not a top-six forward, nor is he your #2 center. Even if Leino struggles.
-The Ennis-Leino-Stafford line had some good looks, I can see chemistry there. I’m curious to see how this line performs down the stretch.
-For the most part, the Kassian-Adam-Foligno line looked okay. Chemistry is definitely there.
-Lindy Ruff actually didn’t shift lines around too much, except for perhaps the PP, which I’ll get to a minute.
-Meeting a great bunch of people from Twitter. I hope we can do it again at some point.
-Tyler Myers looked like the best defensemen on the ice tonight. No surprise there. Keep it up Tyler.
-Tyler Myers wearing an “A.” I approve of this. I hope to someday see him wearing the “C.” Not before Vanek does, of course.
-Jhonas Enroth looked strong. It wasn’t until I saw the replay that I noticed how fantastic that stick save he made was. He definitely deserved the 3rd star.
-The 3rd period. Talk about resiliency after a horrendous 2nd period.
-I’m not sure if it was only because it was a preseason game, but there were a few times when I noticed Kaleta backing down on an easy, but unnecessary, hit. Here’s to hoping he can keep that up while still playing with an edge. If he can’t keep playing like that, then it might just be time to let him walk next season. As much as I hate to see a local boy go, it might just be necessary.
-The ice. People were falling down all over the place out there tonight. Drew Stafford was on his knees more than a $5 hooker. Likely due to the events at the F’N Center the night before.
-The PP. I know there were quite a few AHLers in the lineup, but I was anticipating a Carolina short-handed goal at any moment. The PP just looked terrible.
-Defensive fails. In particular, the one that resulted in the lone Carolina goal.
-Paul Gaustad, 1st star? For me it would have been Kaleta as 2nd and Gerbe as 1st, but that is just me.
-All but the last couple of minutes of the 2nd period. That was probably the worst period of hockey I’ve ever seen in person after the Carolina goal. Aside from the goaltending, it appeared that practically everyone in blue & gold forgot how to play hockey. I know it’s only a preseason game, but I had some serious doubts about their resiliency as a team during that period.
That is all I can really think of that I noticed tonight. Up next is a trip to Montreal to take on the Canadiens on Wednesday. I won’t be able to watch that game, so I won’t be able to provide a recap. Hopefully someone else will be able to watch it and share their thoughts.
In Tylers we trust.