These are my game notes and observations from tonight’s game.
- Big Z with a nice goal, Sabres again off to a fast start.
- Nilsson with three big saves in the first, great positioning and reflexes. Nice to see a goalie in the right position.
- Kaner crashes the net hard and gets a good goal, 2-0 Sabres. Great first period. It’s good to see these strong first periods. We have to now focus on maintaining the energy level for the second and not taking our foot off the gas.
- Loved how Carrier came out flying on the first shift of the game.
- Kaner great work, hard skating creates a turnover in the Rangers zone and Justin Bailey gets his first NHL goal. Awesome work there. Kane got on his horse to get the pressure on. Bailey showed great patience, cutting inside past the defender and scored 5 hole as he got tripped from behind. 3-0 Sabres.
- Poor power play opportunity for the Sabres. We really miss O’Reilly out there. He is OK after his emergency appendix surgery and hopes to be back soon, just needs to wait for the surgery site to heal up. He hopes to be back in a couple weeks.
- Derek Grant crushed Jimmy Vesey on a huge open ice hit. Vesey had his head down trying to find the puck in his skates and got cleaned out by Grant. He tried to lay on the ice to draw a penalty but it was a totally clean hit and play continued. The camera showed Vesey on the bench and he looked rattled. Grant is a big boy.
- On the Rangers first goal in the second, Nilsson went too far over to the center of his crease on the pass from the right side. He should have been more aware as to where the puck was and where the trailing defenseman was on the right circle. He can’t get beat short side in that situation, the puck went right over his right shoulder because he was too far over and down. He needs to stand tall and have the correct angle to cover that near post. Not a good goal for him there. That’s his only mistake so far tonight.
- Good second period overall for the boys. Kept the pressure on and maintained a 2-goal advantage heading into the third.
- Good start to the third. Penalty to Vesey for hooking. See if the power play can generate some chances here.
- Eichel, power play goal! Nice puck movement and Magic Hands tucks in the loose change. Perfect. 4-1 Sabes.
- Great work in the third by the Sabres. The Rangers get their first shot of the third with 5:28 remaining. That’s just great team play by the Sabres. You aren’t going to give up many goals if you limit the other team to 1 shot in 14+ minutes of play.
- Bailey made a great effort to burst down the right side to pick up a loose puck in the Rangers zone. He turned on the after-burners and got the puck, cut inside to his left and fired a snap shot low glove side on Lundqvist. He beat Hank but got the post instead of the net. Great effort.
What else does Nilsson need to do to get consistent playing time? It’s crystal clear how much better the team plays with him in the net. We looked great tonight.
Sabres win 4-1. Girgensons, Kane, Bailey and Eichel score. Nilsson gets his second win of the season vs. King Henrik. This guy needs to stay in for us! I don’t want to see Lehner in on Thursday, at all. Come on Bylsma, stick with the hot hand!! What else does he need to do to get consistent playing time? It’s crystal clear how much better the team plays with Nilsson in the net. We looked great tonight. Go Sabres.