Week 7: A WINNING STREAK!

Entroth has been great, channeling Hasek for this save – Photo from mclatchyinteractive.com

Entroth has been great, channeling Hasek for this save – Photo from mclatchyinteractive.com

If there was one thing that Western New York needed last week, it was a boost – emotionally and physically.  Some needed that boost to climb out of their houses onto the record snowfall and begin to dig out.  Some needed that boost to get them through a 6-day sentence of isolation that the snow caused. Either way, the Bills and the Sabres came through, and the Sabres are currently on what one may call a ‘winning streak!’

The snow started Monday evening and continued well into gameday, when the Sabres were set to take on the Sharks. The areas affected were mainly south of the city, and while the situation in those areas was dire, the Sabres decided to show the true face of Buffalo, rebuff the storm, and carry on with the game as scheduled. It was a great respite from the backbreaking shoveling the people in the southtowns had done, and it was an opportunity for those who weren’t affected as much to get out of the house and represent the strength of the city for a national audience on NBC Sports Network.

Gionta got his first and second of the year!

Gionta got his first and second of the year! – Photo from mclatchyinteractive.com

The game was tight in the first period, ending with no score from either team.  The Sabres managed only three shots in the first frame, Neuvirth fought through an injury to make 10 saves on the Sharks but relented to Enroth before the second would begin.  Scoring came from some surprising places in this game as Nicolas Deslauriers opened the scoring after gathering a rebound from a Cody McCormick shot. The Sharks would answer, but the Sabres didn’t let the tie last long, taking the 2-1 lead less than two minutes later. With 12 seconds left in the period, Brian Flynn would score his second of the year on a 2-on-1 pass from captain Brian Gionta. The third period was sloppy, but Enroth was able to hold on and Gionta would get his second of the night – and of the season – dumping the puck into the empty net before the final siren.  It was a historic game, in terms of the season – the first back-to-back set of wins  for the Sabres and the 8th consecutive win against a Sharks team that is regarded as one of the better teams in the west.

Ristolainen WRECKS Mike Green with a great hip check - photo from Washington Post

Ristolainen WRECKS Mike Green with a great hip check – photo from Washington Post

The Sabres were set to take on the New York Rangers on Friday, but with even more snow coming through the week and the storm’s treachery taking the lives of several people by that time, the team rescheduled the game for February 20th, 2015. That date was originally slated for a game against the Ottawa Senators but has been moved to December 15th, 2014.  More information regarding tickets for these events is available at the Sabres website.

The team was able to flee Snowmaggeddon and found themselves in a more temperate climate on Saturday night, having traveled to DC to take on the Capitals. Again, the Sabres were unable to score in the first, but Enroth held the Caps scoreless as well. There was little action at all until Marcus Foligno would square off with Michael Latta, a fight which Foligno won pretty handily. Just over halfway through the second period, Matt Moulson put the Sabres on the board on assists from Ennis and the ever-present Girgensons. Washington would score a power-play goal at 5:54 of the third, but Buffalo would respond, with Torrey Mitchell getting his third of the year and earning himself second star. The first star was deservedly handed to Jhonas Enroth, who made 44 saves on 45 shots and shut down a Caps team that can score in bursts. The Sabres kept superstar Alex Ovechkin off of the board, a feat for which Jhonas Enroth deserves much of the credit, covering the net very well in the last-second scramble the Capitals put together.

And there it is, ladies and gentlemen. A bona fide win streak.  Damn, that feels good, right? The line of Moulson-Girgensons-Ennis has been on fire, and the young D pair of Ristolainen and Zadorov continue to be impressive. Enroth was outstanding last week, and Neuvirth may be back for one of the games against Montreal.

It's called "a winning streak." photo from youtube.com

It’s called “a winning streak.” photo from youtube.com

For those of you concerned that our place in Mission McDavid has been compromised, check the standings. We’re still last, and it would take a lot more than a short string of wins to dig us out of the basement. Which brings us to this week’s first tilt against the Winnipeg Jets. While the Sabres have momentum and the benefit of a bolstered home crowd who have just been freed from their icy cells, an injury to Cody McCormick has longtime Sabre and local native Patrick Kaleta returning to home ice for the first time since October 10, 2013.  Kaleta is a wild card and could end up doing more damage than good, hurting the team’s chances tonight. After a Thanksgiving Day break, the Sabres play a home-at-home with the Canadiens on Friday and Saturday night. At posting time for this article, the Habs have lost as many games as the Sabres have won, though, in their previous meeting, the Sabres were able to take Montreal to the shootout. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Sabres will be able to get a split, and their streak will come to an end this weekend.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Stay warm, Buffalo!  If you’re running the turkey trot, watch for me at the convention center.  I’ll buy you a beer. *wink*

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One Comment on “Week 7: A WINNING STREAK!”

  1. erikwollschlager November 26, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Reblogged this on ewollschlager and commented:

    A winning streak? Surely we’re delirious from the snow!

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