Game #75 Recap: Sabres Out-Devil The Devils
The Sabres shut out the Devils 2-0, unofficially eliminating them while helping officially eliminate the Islanders. In order to do so, they played the same kind of game the Devils have been playing, and suffocating the life out of the NHL with, since they pioneered “The Trap”.
What’s left to say about Nathan Gerbe? His five goals in five games is a streak many fans never saw coming after how stagnant he was during the first half of the regular season. He’ll cool off eventually, but his current streak is one Sabres supporters would love to live forever. He’s certainly carved out a niche as an effective scoring/checking winger, undersized frame or not.
Thomas Vanek scored to break his five-game scoreless streak with a goal that would have tickled Justin Bourne pink. The last time Vanek flashed his exceedingly rare megawatt smile like he did against the Devils was when he scored his dazzling overtime winning goal versus the Capitals in the Sabres’ first home win of the season. He’s been getting the chances and finding the spots, but now he’s scoring the goals again too. The Sabres will need him to be in Beast Mode again if they hope to make it into and break free of the first round of the playoffs.
Ryan Miller is officially back in Vezina form after the Sabres’ loss to the Predators. His shutout tonight was the second of his last three starts, and he certainly looks dialed-in. What was even better was he had a defense corps in front of him all night that was eliminating second chance shots by directing pucks and bodies to the outside of the zone with ease. This kind of play is another necessity that the Sabres will need to have on display if they want to make noise in the postseason.
Sabres are off until they take on the Maple Leafs in what is Toronto’s biggest game of the season on Tuesday. The series clincher between the two teams can deliver either a serious death blow or huge breath of air to their struggling division opponent, who has played one game more than Buffalo.