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Miller leads Sabres past Coyotes

03/03/14
by

When Terry Pegula bought the Sabres he put a three year deadline on building a team that could be a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup.
Now, just a bit over three years later, he has DELIVERED! Last night against the Coyotes, Ryan Miller looked solid as always. Two early, kind of flukey goals got past him, but Miller dug his heels in and, for what might have been the first time this season, the Sabres in front of him decided to play like they’re supposed to be there.

Not sure if I’m loving the new logo though, Terry.
(Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Steve Ott seemed to signify this change of direction by donning his predecessor’s number. Ott, wearing 29, perhaps signaled a shift for the rest of his teammates to play a bit more offensive. It paid off, with Johan Larsson (22) earning the first star of the game with the game winning goal. Drew Stafford (21) also stepped up, which is something Sabres fans have been waiting all year for him to do, burying two goals to bookend the Sabres’ scoring.

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Drew Stafford finally playing strong along the boards. Like he’s supposed to be in the NHL.Moving him to play back on defense was both unexpected and brilliant.
(Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Adding a goal, strangely enough, was Steve Bernier (56) from 2008. Weird.

Several improvements to the team’s defensive play seem to point toward limiting opponents’ shots and scoring attempts. The Sabres are hopeful that this should solidify play in front of Ryan, and lead to more success than the team’s former defensive strategy:

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I’m pumped, and you should be too! We all had our doubts, but Terry Pegula has built a Stanley Cup contender in three years. I, for one, tip my hat to him. Now we can go back to enjoying a winning team. All you have to do is forget that the St. Louis Blues are the ones in Missouri, then maybe you can forget that the Buffalo Sabres are in misery.

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