The Big Picture: You can analyze it anyway you want, but at the end of the night the Sabres suffered their first loss of the season because they deserved it. Buffalo was woeful over the last 40 minutes in their own end in just about every way imaginable and they paid the price. Jhonas Enroth got his first start of the season and based on his play tonight, may be his last for quite a while. His teammates did little to help him with boneheaded turnovers but sometimes your goaltender simply has to make a stop. Buffalo provided plenty of quality offensive chances but ultimately when you play dreadful defense on the road, you’re typically going to lose.
Good Cody, Bad Cody: First line center Cody Hodgson had a game he may like to soon forget. On the plus side he scored a goal for the third consecutive game to begin the season. That doesn’t mean his game was good overall. Two Hodgson turnovers led to a pair of Carolina goals and that number would be three if you count the empty netter Eric Staal scored to complete his hat trick.
First Line Studs: The combo of Hodgson, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville continue to dominate. Pominville scored twice and Hodgson also tallied as the line accounted for all three goals. Vanek had a pair of assists, including a no look beauty on Pominville’s second of the night. He’s been on the ice for all 10 Sabres goals this season and already has accumulated eight points. Pominville is at seven points, including three goals, as does Hodgson.
As For The Rest: Buffalo can’t seem to find any offense beyond the first line. The second line of Tyler Enis, Marcus Foligno and Drew Stafford has been largely quiet. Stafford’s only managed an assist in three starts while his line mates have been blanked from the score sheet. Taking it further, Steve Ott is the only forward not on the first line that’s scored a goal this season—and that came on the power play off a gorgeous feed from Pominville.
What To Do With Grigo: Mikhail Grigorenko struggled through much of the first two periods and found himself on the bench for lengthy periods of time. His play picked up in the third and particularly on one shit he found himself with Foligno and Stafford. It was by far his best shift of the season, but Ruff put Enis back out the next time around and Grigo finished where he started, centering Ott and Nathan Gerbe. With three of the four forward lines out of whack, I’d like to see Ruff put Grigo between Stafford and Foligno when the rematch takes place tomorrow night in Buffalo. Perhaps that kind of move can kick start them all.
Myers Terrible: I’m going to do a separate piece on this tomorrow, but it’s worth stating here that Tyler Myers continues to look lost. I’m not sure if his ankle injury is still lingering or if he’s just off to a lousy start for a second straight season, but his play is not helping his team at all. Maybe it’s time to sit him and see what T.J. Brennan or Mike Weber can do. Obviously the move isn’t a permanent one, but this kid needs to get the message.
Up Next: The teams meet again Friday night at the First Niagara Center. Clearly the Sabres will be looking to shore up their game defensively. Aside from Ryan Miller being back in, will Ruff keep the lineup the same?