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Game Recap

Sabres clip the Red Wings, 1-0

Sabres ride stellar performance by Robin Lehner to secure victory over their division rivals

Recap

The Sabres held strong in a stingy game, besting the Detroit Red Wings, 1-0, for their first home victory of the season.

Benoit Pouliot tallied the lone goal of the contest midway through the second period. Pouliot took advantage of a juicy rebound, courtesy of Victor Antipin’s point-shot, carrying the puck around the net and burying the wraparound.

In a rare 1-0 game, the real story was the stellar performances of two goaltenders who want to prove that they should remain between the pipes for their respective teams. Robin Lehner turned in a 32-save performance for his first shutout of the season, while Jimmy Howard kept his team in it despite consistent pressure from the Sabres’ forwards. While Lehner deserves a great deal of credit for the outcome, the Sabres’ defensive corps turned in their best effort of the season thus far, blocking several prime opportunities for the Red Wings to tie the game late.

Leading up to the game, neither Lehner or Howard had truly secured their starting roles. For the first time this season, the Sabres won because of Lehner, not despite him. This performance will go a big way toward silencing the portion of the fan base clamoring for Chad Johnson in net, though there is still work to be done. The biggest issue thus far for the 26-year-old netminder has been consistency. He’ll need to string a few of these performances together in order to convince Phil Housley that he should be the undisputed starter.

“We played a good game. We played the right way. When we play our game, we’re successful.” – Lehner

One player who had a quietly impressive game was recent Rochester call-up, Taylor Fedun. In just his second taste of NHL action, Fedun registered the secondary assist on the Sabres’ lone goal, and played a key role late in the third period, thwarting a prime one-time opportunity by laying his stick on the ice for a textbook break-up.

After being benched for the duration of the team’s west coast trip, rookie defenseman Victor Antipin turned in an impressive performance, orchestrating several clean point-shots throughout the contest while displaying the puck-carrying ability that earned him a spot on an NHL roster. Though there is still a great deal of work to be done in polishing his defensive game, the offensive potential is certainly noticeable.

At 3-5-2 on the young season, the Sabres seem to have turned a corner after an abysmal start to a season that commenced with high expectations. While nobody will accuse the Red Wings of being world beaters, a hard-fought, defensively responsible victory will go a long way in building team confidence.

The Sabres will hop on a plane to Columbus right after the game tonight. They take on the Blue Jackets Wednesday night on NBCSN. Puck drop is at 8 p.m.

Scoring

Penalties

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