The Buffalo Sabres should have the team that came out for the third period against the Bruins Friday night stick around for a few games. After being serenaded with boos from the home crowd after the second period, Buffalo got its wakeup call.
The Sabres didn’t just outplay the Boston Bruins in the third period; they dominated the deepest team in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo outshot Boston 10-3 in the third and outscored Boston 3-0.
Wherever Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford were hiding through 14 games, they showed up in Buffalo Friday. The two players that have been the biggest goats of the season thus far were the two—and only two—reasons Buffalo won Friday.
Stafford is the player that can get Buffalo out of its funk. He finally got the puck in the net for the first time this season, but his play on his assist was more impressive. Instead of dumping into the corner, he skated hard toward the net and put a shot on goal, and Christian Ehrhoff put in the rebound. It’s a good sign for Buffalo to see Stafford become aggressive.
The same can be said for Myers. He did score a goal, but his assist was more impressive. He skated through five Bruins deep into the corner and threw the puck to Cody Hodgson, who tipped it in. Myers’ best stat, though, was having a plus-two rating. If Myers and Stafford have regained some of their confidence, Buffalo’s season may not be over.
Unfortunately for the Sabres, the schedule is not in their favor. The schedule up to now should have been the easier portion, despite the much-talked-about 14 games in 24 days.
The Sabres already have one game down with the Capitals, Islanders and Panthers and two down with the Hurricanes. The Sabres only have two points in those five games. If they miss the playoffs by a couple points, they will look back on those missed opportunities.
However, the schedule could be looked at as a positive. Buffalo will be playing the teams they are chasing, which will make it easier to climb in the standings. They still have two games left with the Maple Leafs, Bruins, Senators and Flyers. Ottawa especially should take a tumble, with Jason Spezza out until late March and after losing Erik Karlsson for the year after a gruesome Achilles injury.
The Sabres had some much-needed rest this week, and they have three out of the next four at home. They have momentum to build off of after the way they defeated the Bruins, although they were in the same situation two weeks ago and they squandered the opportunity.
It’s a positive sign for the Sabres that they could win a game Thomas Vanek didn’t have a point in. It may have only been one period, but Buffalo has a lot to be happy after defeating the Bruins.
Now they have an opportunity to rack up the points and turn their season around.