The Big Picture: Goaltender Ryan Miller was the undisputed star of this game. With his wife in the stands Miller stood out; stopping 34 Toronto shots as the Sabres got the through an extremely chippy game and left town with a 2-1 victory. The win gives Buffalo two straight to start the season and it snapped a five-game losing streak in Toronto.
Opportunistic: By no means did Buffalo play a pretty game. It also doesn’t matter. With their first road contest of the season the Sabres played things safe and waited to capitalize on opportunities; which is exactly what they did. Toronto outshot Buffalo, 35-20 on the night but not many, aside from an extended power play in the second period were high quality chances. Meanwhile, Buffalo pounced on Toronto errors with goals by Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville with Miller making sure they would stand up.
Hodgson’s Luck: That’s now two goals in two games for Hodgson to start the season and amazingly, neither goal has been scored with his stick. He had a goal go in off his skate in the home opener Sunday and against Toronto, a shot from Christian Ehrhoff saw the puck find Hodsgon’s chest before redirecting past Ben Scrivens into the net.
Turning Point: With the Sabres up 1-0 in the second Steve Ott, Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford consecutively look penalties that gave Toronto a 5-on-3 advantage for over two minutes. The Leafs managed to get eight shots at Miller, but the netminder turned them aside.
Vanek Continues Hot Start: Thomas Vanek had a pretty set up on Pominville’s goal in the second period and leads the NHL with six points, including four assists in just two games. The line of those two plus Hodgson has been deadly early on.
Scrappy Sabres: John Scott and Marcus Foligno saw their first fights of the season Monday. Scott dropped the gloves with Colton Orr and didn’t fare as well as he’d like, at least semi-getting dropped by an Orr right hand that connected the same time as a Scott punch. Foligno got the better of Mark Fraser in the second period.
Face Off Woes: If there’s a downfall with the Sabres right now, it’s their lack of execution on face offs. Buffalo won just 30% (19-of-64) draws Monday. While that hasn’t hurt hurt them yet, it very well could in the future. Jochen Hecht taking countless critical draws isn’t a welcomed site right now.
Next Up: Buffalo is off until Thursday before beginning a home and home series at Carolina. Lindy Ruff told WGR Tuesday morning that Jhonas Enroth will get the start in the net for one of the two games.