Game 2: Euro Sweep

Apparently the Sabres really like playing in Europe.  Buffalo won the second and final game of their Euro trip, beating LA 4-2. Once again, the Vanek-Adam-Pominville  was the big producer in the game. Luke Adam had two goals, Pominville had an assist, and Vanek had two assists.  Vanek in particular was impressive. He made a phenomenal pass from his stomach to assist on Adam on his second goal and he was really physically engaged. Vanek was initiating contact and dropping LA Kings, including a great hip-check on Mike Richards. As evidenced by his two goals, Adam showed once again that he has a great nose for the net. It’s great to see a Sabres forward who is thinking nothing else but shooting the puck in those situations.

The other forward I was really impressed with was Nathan Gerbe. He was literally all over the place making plays at both ends of the ice and getting in everyone’s face. The play he made at the end of the game is the reason he’s so endearing to fans. Gerbe skated as hard as he could, going after the puck and taking it into the offensive end and forcing Drew Doughty to take a cross-checking penalty after he failed to take Gerbe off of the puck. Personally, I think he would have scored on his breakaway attempt if he had his own stick. Nate’s usually money in that situation and Bernier had a sub-par game.

As far as the other forwards go, I loved the forechecking  of the McCormick-Gaustad-Kaleta line. They did an awesome job in the 3rd period shutting down the Kopitar line. It was also good to see Stafford’s hard work finally payoff with a goal on the power play. Finally, I’ve got to give props to Paul Gaustad on that tip-in goal off of Gerbe’s shot. I had to rewind the play back to make sure that it wasn’t Vanek who made that ridiculous play!

On defense, Regehr and Myers were dominant, not allowing the Kings to get anything going. Both had better defensive games than they did yesterday, especially Myers who didn’t let anything get by him on the right side all game. He didn’t do much on the offensive-side of things, but that will happen on occasion. It’s nothing to worry about, especially if the team is scoring four goals every game even without him starting up things on offense. Leopold and Ehrhoff both led the team in ice time again. Considering that Ehrhoff left the game part way through the 1st period after he got hit by Jarret Stoll, that’s a particularly impressive stat. It’s seems like the plan is to let those two eat minutes against the secondary competition while Regehr and Myers draw the top assignments and Sekera and Gragnani/Weber get the scraps. Interesting enough, the 3rd pairing of Gragnani-Sekera was a +6. They certainly had a better game than yesterday.

Ryan Miller may have given up one more goal than he did yesterday, but he was sharper in this game. He made plenty of big saves and both of Kopitar’s goals were pretty much unstoppable. He was screened on the first goal on the power play and he was pretty much left on an island on goal #2.

There were only a couple of things I didn’t like today. The Ennis-Leino-Boyes line stunk and generated very little offensively. That’s unacceptable when you’re a train-wreck in your own end like this trio is, although I thought Leino was fairly solid defensively. That’s about the only kudos I can give that line. Secondly, Derek Roy just hasn’t looked like himself these first two games. He hasn’t made much happen offensively and he’s been very so-so defensively. It was his lack of backchecking that was primary cause for Kopitar’s second goal.

Overall though, this was a more impressive game for Buffalo than yesterday’s. They played for 60 minutes, overcame an iffy start in the first and managed to scored four goals again. All of what happened today was on the heels of coming in really late to Berlin after playing a game the day before, which is exceptional. The Sabres don’t play again until the home opener against the Canes on October 14th. Enjoy the 2-0 start!

Scoresheet For Today’s Game

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