The Sabres’ starting goaltender dilemma took a new twist tonight as Ryan Miller gave up three goals in the first seven minutes of the game as the Sabres fell to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2.
The Flyers came out on fire, pelting Miller and out-shooting the Sabres 7-0 before rookie Sean Couturier netted the first goal for Philadelphia.
It didn’t take long for the Flyers to add another goal, as just 13 seconds later James Van Riemsdyk capitalized on one of the Sabres many turnovers throughout the night to make it 2-0 Flyers.
Scott Hartnell scored the third and final goal for Philadelphia less than five minutes later, forcing Ruff to pull his stud goalie after Miller allowed the three goals on the game’s first 11 shots.
The Sabres were able to pick up their play a bit in the second period and Andrej Sekera scored his first goal of the season to trim the Flyers lead to 3-1. The Sabres out-shot Philadelphia 15-5 in the second period.
Luke Adam continued his hot start to the season in the third period as he scored to make it 3-2 after Vanek returned to the ice and went hard into the corner to get the puck to Adam. The Sabres last-minute effort to tie the game ultimately fell short however, falling to 1-3 on their current five-game home stand that will conclude with their game against Calgary on Friday.
- Enroth obviously benefits from Miller’s poor start to the season, but this whole goalie controversy thing has got to stop. First, we’re 11 games into the season and we’re 6-5. Miller is the franchise goalie whether you like it or not, and that’s not changing anytime soon. Sure, Miller’s play has been uninspiring to say the least, but you’re all blinded by Enroth’s numbers right now. You’re kidding yourself if you think this team has a better chance of winning with Enroth in net as opposed to Miller. Before you all shout “trade him”, tell me what you’ll get in return. Not much. No one trades for goalies in today’s NHL. You’re stuck with what you got, so deal with it. You’ll soon realize having Miller on this team is for the better. The Sabres play four back-to-back sequences this month, so naturally we’ll be seeing plenty of Enroth going forward. Eventually Enroth will have an off night and Miller will pick up his game. Allow the man to get into a rhythm. He’ll force his doubters to bite their tongues later in the season. It’s almost guaranteed.
- Man, do I really love Luke Adam. It’s still unclear whether he’s really that talented or if he’s simply benefiting from playing between Vanek and Pominville, but you can’t argue with his point production. Right now, Adam is tied for the league lead in points scored by a rookie (11) with this year’s first-overall draft choice Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Even if he evens out later in the season, which he most likely will do, Adam’s impact on this team will be substantial. He’s being counted on to play big minutes and he’s producing and that’s something not many guys on this team can say right now.
- So much for Lindy’s line jumble. He backed off his adjustments early, moving Ville Leino down to play with Drew Stafford and Derek Roy after featuring him on the No. 1 line to start the game. He noted during his press conference that he had lost all patience with the new lines early on, so he decided to go back to what had been working in the past and that seemed to spark the team a little bit. Still, aside from the Adam-Vanek-Pomminville line, Lindy has a ton of work to do to find the right combinations that provide this team with multiple scoring lines. I’m starting to think Cody McCormick should be the guy to come out of the lineup if and when either Hecht or Ennis are healthy again.
- Like Lindy, I’m slowly losing my patience with Leino. That line came out looking like garbage. A lot of people noted they liked the way Leino played in this game, but I didn’t see it. He had over 16 minutes in ice time and failed to put a single puck on net. He looked slow at times and I don’t think I really saw him competing for the puck at all. I remain optimistic about him, but man, he’s making it really difficult.
- Matt Ellis hasn’t really done much for me in the couple games he’s player either. You just don’t notice him on the ice. Obviously that hurts when you’re used to Tyler Ennis playing in that spot.
- I had been calling for Mike Weber to take Gragnani’s spot for a while now, but now that it actually happened I’m not so sure anymore. Regehr and Weber just looked lost as a pair so that’s another thing Lindy will have to maneuver around for this weekend.
- The Sabres were rumored to be very interested in Sean Couturier in the draft over the summer but he went a few picks ahead of them to the Flyers. He opened the games scoring tonight and has looked very good this season. I remember some people calling the pick the steal of the draft. The Sabres supposedly considered moving up to snatch him after he began his free-fall to No. 7 overall. Instead, they ended up with Joel Armia who, by the way, has looked pretty poor so far over in Finland. Sigh.
- The Sabres will have to pick up their play on Friday against Calgary, who is in second-last place in the Western Conference. It’s already disappointing the team hasn’t been able to take advantage of the long home stand and get a few wins so I think it’ll do a lot for this team to play well heading into their game against the Senators on Saturday.
- Despite their poor play of late, the Sabres still have the second-best penalty kill in the league. The Sabres held the Flyers power play unit to 0-3 on the night.
- The game tonight was the first game of the season the First Niagara Center wasn’t sold out. There were 18,299 fans in attendance.
- As many of you already probably know, tonight the Sabres granted press box access to Buffalo Wins. I know, what were they thinking, right? I was the lucky one who got the opportunity to attend the game and I have to say it was pretty damn cool. Aside from being mistaken for Justin Beiber on a few occasions and Fake Darcy bribing me with nachos, it was a great experience all around. We hope to bring you all much more coverage as I plan on attending multiple games throughout the season so if you enjoyed it, stay tuned for much more to come!
My Three Stars:
1. Luke Adam (1G 1A, +2)
2. Jason Pominville (0G 1A, +1)
3. Jhonas Enroth (15 SA 15 SV, 100 SV%)
Big Save: Miller robs Jagr 5:38 into the game.
Best Hit: Patrick Kaleta rocks Andreas Lilja 2:58 in.
You can follow Brandon on Twitter for even more insightful Sabres coverage @THWGoldSchlager.