The first full season of the Terry Pegula era has started off on the right foot. A convincing 4-1 effort over Anaheim has earned the Sabres their first win of the season.
The Sabres didn’t waste any time getting on the board. Thomas Vanek picked up the team’s first goal of the season just four minutes into the opening period.
Each goal after that proved to be insurance as Ryan Miller would only allow one and was a rock in net. Miller stopped 29 of 30 shots as he completed his 400th NHL game. On the other side of the ice, Jhonas Hiller allowed four goals on 25 shots.
Vanek would tally another goal in the second period as the puck trickled just between Jhonas Hiller’s right pad and the post.
Making his Sabres debut, Ville Leino scored his first career goal as a member of the blue and gold. That turned out to be the game-winner.
Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr each took a pair of penalties, but Ehrhoff did get on the stat sheet by recording an assist. Regehr made a noticeable impact on defense with game highs in hits (5) and blocked shots (6).
Captain Jason Pominville had the other goal for Buffalo, along with a pair of assists. Pominville and Vanek each lead the team with three points after the first game.Leading 4-1 early in the third, the Sabres took a pair of penalties and were down two men. A good chance to get back into the game for Anaheim was denied by the solid penalty killing of Buffalo.
Buffalo’s special teams play was a huge factor in this game. The Sabres were a perfect 5-5 on the penalty kill and 2-4 on the power play.
With a three goal lead after two periods, the Sabres were able to sit on it. The Ducks outshot Buffalo 11-0 in the final 20 minutes, but were unable to beat Miller again. Anaheim came close with two shots hitting the post, but nothing found the back of the net.
Luke Adam’s performance can be easily overlooked, but he chipped in a pair of assists and was a plus 1 on the day.
The Sabres will face the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday at 2:00 pm EST.