Thursday, March 31, 2011

lindy ruff's gotta have a smile on his face...

after last night's 1-0 win vs. the rangers.

A frustrated Rangers squad wants to continue play after the Buffalo Sabres
hold off the NY Rangers at HSBC with a 1-0 victory.
The Sabres on the ice--Nathan Gerbe, Paul Gaustad, Drew Stafford,
Mike Weber, and Andrej Sekera (not pictured)
will have none of that.

Here's why:
  • the Sabres are now in 7th place in the Eastern Conference (via the new NHL tie breaker) and are one game over the .500 mark (wins vs. total losses) once again
  • they did it by beating, and therefore jumping over, the NY Rangers last night in a game that had a "playoff feel" to it
  • the Sabres shut out the Rangers 1-0, with "back-up" goaltender, Jhonas Enroth, getting the start in place of an injured (day-to-day) Ryan Miller
  • Buffalo played a "lock-down" defensive game limiting the Rangers to a handful of scoring opportunities
  • they only had one penalty against and they killed it
  • they only had one power play opportunity and scored the only goal on it
  • the team came back from laying an egg in Toronto the night before and put forth one of it's best performances of the year
  • the Sabres have not lost back-to-back games dating back to February 16-20, which ended the Tom Golisano-era
  • the team ended a stellar month going 10-4-2 which included three shutouts in the last five games

Individually, here are some players who stood out:
  • Enroth--1st star of the game, was minimally tested and turned aside every Ranger opportunity in his 23-save performance
  • call-up, Marc Andre-Grangnani, foils a three-on-one shorthanded break by the Rangers and gets a secondary assist as the puck bounces off of him to Thomas Vanek who feeds Tim Connolly
  • Connolly--much maligned for nearly every reason under the sun, including not using his shooting skills, blasted a slapshot top-shelf, blocker side with authority for the only goal of the game
  • Mike Weber--rugged, gritty, tough. Just ask Artem Anisimov who ended up on his ass at the side of the Buffalo net
  • Andrej Sekera--"Rej!". Was that you burying Ranger, Ryan Callahan, at the end of the game? Or was that your "bad-ass" twin brother?
  • Weber and Sekera entrusted to preserve the win for the last 1:11 of the game
  • Drew Stafford who was on the ice for the final Ranger's onslaught and came through

And then there's Nathan Gerbe, on the ice once again to preserve a one-goal lead at the end of the game.

The following video, culled from the NY Rangers web-site, shows his defensive smarts as Ranger Marion Gaborik has a golden opportunity in the waning seconds. Gaborik is in position, Enroth is not and Gerbe does the littlest (snicker, snicker) of things (which can be found at the 1:25 mark):

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