The Sabres have more wins than losses for the first time since 2013

October 08, 2018 - 6:24 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - In the opener on Thursday, the Sabres passing was as bad as it’s ever been, but the changeover in players is finally showing in games.

Buffalo’s passing was much improved against Vegas and it produced four goals in 40 minutes. The 4-2 win over the Golden Knights means the Sabres have more wins than losses for the first time since January of 2013.

It started right away on the first power play goal. Kyle Okposo found Rasmus Ristolainen back at the blue line. Ristolainen faked a shot and then put a pass right in Jack Eichel’s wheelhouse in the left wing circle and Eichel just ripped it past Marc-Andre Fleury.

After that, the Sabres played a lot of north/south hockey. They used their speed to their advantage to get pucks quickly through the neutral zone and create chances at the other end.

Marco Scandella was miserable in his first year as a Sabre. He hated how losing was accepted, but some of those players are elsewhere. Scandella scored a goal on Fleury simply by throwing a puck at the net. I had him with me on the postgame show and he couldn’t stop smiling. The defenseman said, "It started in training camp, we are starting a culture here. It's something different in here. It wasn't easy last year. Everyone prepared this summer the right way. There's a new energy in here.

"You can't explain it, it just feels different, different energy it just feels great. We are in better shape this year, guys are in better shape."

Jason Pominville also scored a goal and he said he’s noticed a big change too, “I think that kind of started before training camp, the buzz around the city, it's a different vibe, it's a lot of fun so far, we got to make sure we keep pushing it to get better.”

I wouldn’t call Pominville, Evan Rodrigues and Zemgus Girgensons a fourth line. In the two games they’ve been together, they’ve meshed very well and at times, have been the Sabres best line. Rodrigues is simply a gamer. He didn’t have a good training camp or a good preseason, but when the games count, he plays pretty well.

There was a huge overreaction after the first game when they lost to Boston. Irrational fans wanted Phil Housley fired and kept telling me there is no improvement. Since then, the Sabres have won two games and again, you can’t over react to that. This is a team that is on the rise, but they aren’t even close to being there yet. The good thing if you’re a Sabres fan is this team can be even better.

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