An excellent effort by the Sabres almost gave them their second win of the young season. But last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning was anything but disappointing.
The Sabres showed at lot of grit throughout the game and controlled the pace early on. Ultimately, however, they succumbed to the mighty Lightning and lost, 2-1, during which I believe they played their best game of the season, besides the 4-2 win over the Jackets.
Let’s take a look at how Chad Johnson played. Well first off, he was a lot better than the game against the Panthers. Johnson looked like he could steal the game until the late power play goal happened. This shows the difference between a starter and backup.
While Johnson played great, Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was better. The two goals given up by Johnson were definitely not his fault. Namestnikov just stole the puck from Jack McCabe to score the first goal and Tyler Johnson made a nice pass to Alex Killorn during a scramble in front of the net to score the winner.
Now the team in front of Chad Johnson played extremely well last night, too. But first off, a big congrats to Sam Reinhart for scoring his first NHL goal. Buffalo’s forecheck was a lot better against a Lightning team that was without their best defenseman in Victor Hedman.
The Sabres did a great job on offense by putting 32 shots on Bishop, many which looked like they would score another on the Lightning netminder. On defense, the big negative is Jack McCabe’s neutral zone giveaway, which gave Tampa their first goal.
Buffalo holding Tampa to 22 shots as well really shows the potential of this team. The Lightning have one of the best forward cores in the NHL that can put up 35+ shots a game and keeping them at 22 is usually a good thing. The amount of blocked shots Buffalo had was a huge factor in this as well. Thank Josh Gorges for that.
The only real negative you can take is the late penalty that eventually Tampa scored on. Late penalties will always cost you. However this game is a great sign for things to come for this team is when they can dominate the game right from the start.