Martin brodeur reminded everyone in Buffalo why he’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer following his retirement.
Throughout his storied career, Brodeur has certainly had the Sabres’ number. That trend continued Wednesday, as the Sabres fell to the New Jersey Devils 5-3 in front of a sold out First Niagara Center.
The Sabres’ offense played well, managing 32 shots on goal. But Brodeur turned them away time after time and, despite allowing three goals, made numerous key saves, allowing the Devils to capitalize on their few scoring chances.
On the contrary, Jhonas Enroth’s less-than-stellar performance in night led the the Sabres’ loss. He allowed five goals on 19 shots before being pulled in favor of Drew MacIntyre, taking his first regulation loss in almost a year.
Tyler Myers responded well after watching Monday’s 3-2 win from the press box. Despite a shaky first period, he paced the offense with his first two-goal game since Jan. 8, 2010 and issued the team’s biggest hit of the night on former Sabre Dainius Zubrus which left the forward laying on the ice for a brief moment afterwards.
The talk is that Myers could face a suspension for the hit. As both players raced for the puck, Zubrus reached his stick out while Myers lowered his shoulder that may have hit a little too high on Zubrus’ head.
Lindy Ruff stated afterwards that he wasn’t sure what to expect from the league in regards to the hit, but said he liked the edge Myers showed during the hit and throughout the game.
The Devils opened the scoring just over two minutes into the contest when a sloppy attempt by Derek Roy to regain the puck on the power play led to forward David Clarkson gaining the zone while Zack Parise wound up wide open in front of the net to hammer home a loose puck for the short-handed goal.
After missing the Devils’ previous five games, Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the ice and netted a powerplay goal just over three minutes later.
Myers scored the first of his two goals late in the first period to give the Sabres sime momentum they would carry into the second, but Brodeur was brilliant during a second period which the Sabres dominated, making one huge sprawling save on Jason Pominville front point-blank range in what wound up the turning point of the game.
The Devils would add another goal by Mark Fayne in the second period before breaking the game open with two more in the third. Myers and Jordan Leopold accounted for the remainder of the game’s goals as the Sabres fell to 11-7 on the year.
- Corey Tropp returned to the Sabres’ roster following his short demotion last week. I thought Tropp played very well yet again. Obviously he’s not a flashy guy, but plays hard every time he heads out on the ice. In only 7:42 of ice time, Tropp registered five hits.
- What the hell happened to Luke Adam? Just a few games ago he was riding high atop the Sabres’ top line centering two of the league’s hottest players. He was sent down to the fourth line by the time it was all said in done. This happened in part due to Brad Boyes’ solid play, but Adam was also taken off the top line against Montreal a few days ago in favor of Roy. Ruff said afterwards Adam had been the cause of too many turnovers and defensive lapses to warrant giving him top minutes.
- Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville each continued their incredible start to the season. The pair are now each on a five-game point streak and both recorded a point on a goal for the for the 18th time this season — the most by any duo in the NHL.
- I mentioned Boyes’ great play as the main reason Adam rode the pine for most of this game, but I think the way Boyes played in this game went largely unappreciated by most fans. He had a few great scoring chances and, despite not recording a point, Boyes looked like the Sabres’ best forward not named Thomas or Jason throughout the game. Huge props to Boyes who seems to be stepping up his game lately.
- Another point that I think has pretty much gone under the radar is Christian Ehrhoff’s play so far. I don’t mean that in a good way, though. Ehrhoff has played very poorly in the first month and a half of his Sabres career but not many people seem to be too upset by it. I noticed another poor effort by him again tonight where he was the cause of a few defensive lapses and continued to turn the puck over and not hit on his passes. Ehrhoff was brought in to help on the blueline from an offensive standpoint, and I think lately he’s been doing more bad than good for this team.
- Myers obviously had a huge game, but it didn’t start out that way. In the first period he looked pretty lost at times. He was partially responsible for the sloppy short-handed goal the team allowed and missed a few open passes to players who were in great position to score on numerous occasions. But props to him for coming out in the second and playing lights out. His first goal was kind of fluky, but his second score was awesome. It was the kind of goal that makes you think he has finally turned the corner on his early season slump. Not only did he score, he showed grit when he responded to Ryan Carter’s continuos run ins with Enroth and obviously on the Zubrus hit. What a huge night for him.
- Last but not least, I need to touch on the most important issue of the game which was the play of Jhonas Enroth. For the first time all season, Enroth proved why he’s still just a backup in the NHL. It’s one game, yes, but he hasn’t played all that sharp since stepping in for Miller in Boston. Everyone ripped on Miller the second he allowed a few soft goals, and Enroth allowed a few subject goals of his own this time around. Hopefully this Miller concussion isn’t going to be a prolonged issue, because I feel as though many of you are going to miss him him Enroth continues to fall back down to earth.
Risers & Fallers:
UP: Tyler Myers, Brad Boyes, Corey Tropp
DOWN: Jhonas Enroth, Christian Ehrhoff, Luke Adam
Big Save: Sorry, but the save made by Brodeur with 8:57 to play in the second period was far too awesome to ignore here. Normally, I want to reserve this for Sabres goalies, but nothing Enroth did tonight comes withing 1,000 miles of this save.
Big Hit: Despite not being acknowledged as the “Carruba Collision of the Game”, this was by far the biggest hit of the entire night. Clean or dirty, Myers pummeled Zubrus into the boards. It’s hits like these Myers needs to find a way to incorporate into his game more. I don’t care if he has to take a few suspensions to do it.
My Three Stars:
1st Star: Tyler Myers
2nd Star: Brad Boyes
3rd Star: Jason Pominville