Game 4: Who Said Pens Were Mightier Than Swords?

After last night’s game, Buffalo really cleaned up the sloppiness and played a much simpler, more disciplined game and handily beat the Pens 3-2. Obviously, the score wasn’t exactly indicative of that, but Enroth was very impressive in goal and you never got the sense that he was going break at all and let the Pens back into the game. The first Pens goal was a low-percentage shot from the side of the boards that got redirected into the net by Robyn Regehr’s stick. Enroth had zero chance on that one. The only really bad sequence that I saw was on the Pens second goal where everyone was out to lunch and Enroth gave up a fat rebound on top of all of that. Ennis had a rough neutral-zone giveaway and there were a few odd-man rushes that could have been prevented, but overall, Buffalo played a very tight defensive game.

I was very encouraged by the game Luke Adam had. After yesterday’s stinker, Adam came back with a vengeance, picking up a goal and an assist to go along with a much-improved effort in his own end and coming back hard on the backcheck. Similarly, Vanek came back strong from an off-game. He had a ton of chances that he unfortunately couldn’t finish and he set up Adam’s goal.

Nathan Gerbe continues to be a force on the ice, picking up a goal and an assist. What has really impressed me about him though is how far his defensive game has come. It’s been stellar. Early on, Stafford is showing that last season was not a fluke. The goal he scored tonight was the kind of goal you’d see an elite goal-scorer put in the net. I won’t be surprised at all if he hits 30+ goals again. The whole Ennis-Leino-Boyes line was fun to watch for the most part too. They had plenty of puck possession time, but unfortunately, that never translated into points. I’m not sure why Kaleta and Boyes traded places later in the game because both of the new lines weren’t as good as the old ones.

On defense, I can’t say enough about how good the Myers and Regehr pairing was tonight. They were outstanding and shut-down the Pens all night. Both guys were also rag-dolling the Pens in the process. Myers and Regehr combined for seven hits. I’m not going to get mad at Regehr for the first goal though. You can chalk that up to him having his stick in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fluke play, nothing more. Ehrhoff and Leopold had some defensive yips, but they were solid for the most part. Ehrhoff in particular had an improved game from last night, collecting a couple of assists. Sekera was pretty much the same as yesterday. He made some nice plays rushing the puck and had a very good scoring chance during the game as well to go along with solid defensive play. Both him and Ehrhoff were the two defensemen out there for that gong-show that took place on the Pens second goal, but I’m not going to get too upset because that was just a complete failure for every Sabres player on the ice. Gragnani didn’t cost the team any goals tonight, but he failed to help the team offensively and managed to help give up some more odd-man rushes to the Pens by getting caught in the offensive zone. I hope that this game is the one that will put him in the press box. If he’s not helping the team offensively, there is zero reason for Gragnani to be playing instead of Weber.

In goal, the Sabres didn’t miss a beat because of Enroth’s stellar play. He made plenty of spectacular saves and there wasn’t much he could have done on both goals. The rebound control could have been better on goal #2, but he did make the first save and his teammates could have picked him up there instead of throwing-up all over themselves.

Unlike last night’s game, special teams weren’t a factor at all. Buffalo hit two posts on their only power play, but couldn’t score. That didn’t matter though since the Sabres were able to turn away the Pens on both of their power plays.

The refs had a bad game tonight, getting in the way of a few Sabres plays, most notably against Ennis. The delay-of-game call on Roy that gave the Pens a chance to tie the game late on the power play was also atrocious. You could clearly tell that the puck got tipped on its way into the stands.

Buffalo’s next game is on Tuesday at Montreal at 7:30 PM. Both teams always play tight games with one another, so I’m fully expecting a one goal game between the two of them. Have fun watching football tomorrow!

Game Scoresheet

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