The Sabres are not in terrible shape after losing Jack Eichel and Evander Kane in the first week, and starting the season with Kyle Okposo and Dimitriy Kulikov out with injury.
At 1-2-1 after 4 games, it could be worse. We looked great against Edmonton, decent against Calgary and decent against Vancouver. We were in all 3 games.
Obviously, we got jobbed by the refs in Western Canada, with a no call on the boarding of Sam Reinhart in OT leading to the winning goal for Calgary. Then, in Vancouver, we gave up our first power play goal of the season to the Sedins, which honestly is not that horrible. They are lethal on the power play – to go 4 games and only give up one power play goal is good. Our power play needs work, as was evidenced against Vancouver when we had a 5 on 3 and couldn’t even generate a scoring chance.
Our power play needs work, as was evidenced against Vancouver when we had a 5 on 3 and couldn’t even generate a scoring chance.
One of the bright spots has been how good Kulikov looks so far. Now that he is on the ice, we can see that we have a pretty darn good player in him – a left-handed defenseman. Okposo also looks as good as he did for the Islanders and it’s awesome to have him. O’Reilly is playing great and leading the team in heart. We are just going to have to wait a month or two for Eichel and Kaner to be back at full strength and then we are going to see some pretty awesome hockey. For the time being, we have guys that understand that we are undermanned, and they’re just going to have to work to keep us afloat until our superstars get back.
Little Tigger Ennis has looked solid and we are going to need him to step up while Eich is out. He made a really nice play along the boards in Calgary to get the puck to the front of the net to get Big Z a goal. Now on a line with Sam Reinhart centering him and Girgensons, look for solid production from that line going forward.
The matchup in Philly will be interesting to watch. The Flyers are 2-3-1 and coming off a 6-3 win over Carolina. Anders Nilsson will start in net as Lehner is out with an illness and will not accompany the team to Philly. Lehner looked ok, but let in an easy one that got under his arm against the Canucks that he’d like to have back. I am still not sold on him as a #1 and I don’t think the Sabres are either, as is evidenced by them trading a 5th round pick for Nilsson and letting Chad Johnson go to Calgary.
Sabres vs. Flyers- Tuesday, October 25 – 7:00 PM- Wells Fargo Center, MSG+ and WGR 550.