The Buffalo Sabres had a tough matchup Thursday night with the Vancouver Canucks at the First Niagara Center. In the end, Buffalo came out on the losing end with a 3-0 loss.
The Vancouver Canucks offensively dominated the first period. Vancouver outshot Buffalo 19-7, which eight of their shots came within the first two minutes of the game. Miller was able to stop all but one of the 19 shots, with the one goal beating him at the 14:53 mark of the first period. Chris Higgins capitalized on a turnover in front of the net to give Vancouver the 1-0 lead. The defense had problems connecting with passes and keeping pucks in the offensive zone. Rasmus Ristolainen had a rough first period, being out skated and unable to keep pucks in the offensive zone. Miller looked sharp in the net, as he was able to turn away shot after shot that came his way.
The Canucks once again dominated play in the second period. Tyler Myers was shaken up in the second period around the 13-minute mark but was able to return. Then, at the 11:05 mark, the Canucks took a 2-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Brad Richardson. Richardson was able to deflect a knuckle-puck that handcuffed Ryan Miller. Buffalo was once again outshot by Vancouver 9-7, and could not present any difficult challenges for Roberto Luongo. The highlight of the period, and possibly the night, was Rasmus Ristolainen hitting Canucks forward, Tom Sestito into the Sabres bench.
Early in the third period, Thomas Vanek and everyone in the First Niagara Center thought the Sabres were within a goal. Upon further review, the puck did not fully cross the goal line, and the score remained 2-0. Ryan Stanton scored his first NHL goal at the halfway point of the third to make it 3-0 Vancouver. From there, the Canucks were on cruise control and skated away with the victory. Buffalo did get more shots on Luongo to test him a bit, but lead to no avail.
Ryan Miller was able to stop 31 shots on 34 attempts by Vancouver, while Roberto Luongo stopped all 25 shots that came his way. Ryan Miller declined to be interviewed after the game, but the sense of frustration was there with Miller.
Ron Rolston was short with his answers to the media, but did indicate that the whole team is frustrated. “We’re frustrated, but we’ll get through it.”
“We gotta keep working hard. There’s no one that’s gonna come up from the minors to give us a boost. We gotta find a way to have one, two, three lines to generate chances and score some goals,” said captain, Thomas Vanek. Vanek ended the night with three shots in 17:33 of total ice time.
The Sabres are going to take on the red hot Colorado Avalanche on Saturday from the First Niagara Center. Colorado is just coming off their first loss against Detroit, 4-2. The young Avalanche team will give this young Sabres team a tough challenge. Puck drop on Saturday night is at 7 p.m.