Overreactions, 23rd Edition: Did the Caps fire Bruce Boudreau yet?

If many in Vegas took the Sabres to win tonight, I’d be surprised. If any took them to cover, I’d be shocked.

But for a team that has struggled at home and showed up with a list of injuries longer than their list of wins in First Niagara Center, they made no mistake. With two players making their season debut for the reeling Sabres, Buffalo came out solid and played strong from start to finish, beating Washington 5-1.

Luke Adam scored twice for Buffalo, as he reaped the rewards of good efforts from Sabres newbie Paul Szczechura and Ville Leino, who each garnered two assists and one assists, respectively. The line dominated for much of the night on the forecheck, a surprise for two guys who’ve struggled of late and a guy just recalled from Rochester.

Zack Kassian scored his first NHL goal, while Jason Pominville and Jochen Hecht also tallied for Buffalo in their first home victory in 15 days.

Jhonas Enroth rebounded from his putrid performance in Columbus, stopping 26 of 27 shots. Washington’s Jason Chimera scored the only goal for the Caps on a penalty shot in the second period.

Buffalo improved to 13-9-1, while Washington lost their fourth straight road game.

  • Lindy Ruff seemed to downplay the injury to Drew Stafford, which was unknown officially until game time, in his post-game press conference. If it’s not that serious, that can only be construed as good news for a team that’s getting hit hard by injuries. With only a game Tuesday against the Islanders between now and a back-to-back next weekend, that’s plenty of time to rest up.
  • Very impressed with Szczechura’s work tonight. That line was superb. Kid showed a lot of grit, some good hands, and a lot of effort. He’s no rookie, with 83 NHL games under his belt before tonight, but it was a refreshing surprise to see him acquit himself so well, so quickly.
  • Congrats to Kassian on the goal. He asserted himself physically like no other game I’ve seen him play in the preseason or the one I saw in Rochester. Completely superceded what I had expected out of him, and he was rewarded with a goal. He still has some issues to clean up, but he’s off to a hell of a start.
  • With Szczechura’s strong play, a great game from Kassian, and a good game out of Corey Tropp, even if someone does come back from injury, who do you even take out at this point? If Stafford’s healthy Tuesday, or someone else, how do you justify taking one of those three out right now? A good problem to have, but with the cap situation, unfortunately, it won’t be Matt Ellis, whose play has been underwhelming.
  • Alexander Ovechkin: two shots, -4. Nicklas Backstrom: two shots, -4. Troy Brouwer: one shot, -3. That’s the Caps’ top line. Yikes.
  • Jhonas Enroth was quietly phenomenal. Sure, the Sabres defensively were very sound, but Enroth was in position to make every stop and did very good handling rebounds. There were few, if any, instances where he was scrambling for loose pucks. A very calm and clean game out of Enroth.
  • When the hell did Jochen Hecht get those wheels? Two shorthanded breakaways, the first of which was converted cleanly to end any drama. Just narrowly missed tucking the second one home. I still don’t like him centering Vanek and Pominville, but a good effort all around out of Hecht.
  • I could pick out each individual defenseman and laud them for having a solid game, but I don’t need to. Christian Ehrhoff was a beast. Jordan Leopold and Andrej Sekera were outstanding as usual, shutting down the Ovechkin line. Brayden McNabb and T.J. Brennan played clean, simple games. Marc-Andre Gragnani was alright.
  • Pretty dramatic difference in crowd energy between Wednesday and tonight. Many of the efforts to increase anxiousness for the Boston game were forgotten for tonight, which was disappointing. Game presentation still underachieving.
  • There was a stretch in the third period where there were a couple plays by Washington that could’ve easily been called penalties against the Caps. None were called, and the crowd was incensed, rightfully so. The game was still 4-1 at the time, so it was still somewhat in doubt if the Caps get a goal there. Luckily, they didn’t, and it’s a non-issue.

So, really… did Washington can Boudreau yet?

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Posted on November 26, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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