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The Sabres Observer

Amidst The Drama, Another Buffalo Road Win

It’s more a coincidence than a matter of relevance, but the Sabres always seem to be in the neighborhood when there’s a controversy going on in the league.

They faced the New Jersey Devils the night that a frustrated John MacLean sent Ilya Kovalchuk to the press box.  They ran into the Islanders the game after New York’s memorable 9-3 fightfest victory over Pittsburgh.

And last night, after a whirlwind of debate surrounding the NHL’s decision not to suspend Zdeno Chara for his nasty hit on Max Pacioretty, it was the Sabres who seemingly were set up as the foils for a red hot Boston Bruins team on a 7-1-1 run.

As it turned out, Buffalo weathered the storm in the first period, came back to outshoot the Bruins 22-7 in the second, and eventually won 4-3 in overtime on a Brad Boyes tip-in goal.

The Sabres are now 4-1-1 with one game to go in the longest road trip in franchise history.  All four of those wins have come against winning teams (Philly, Boston, NY Rangers, Minnesota).  These guys apparently just love to travel.

Some last minute shots on net:

• Is there even a doubt in anyone’s mind anymore that Thomas Vanek should be the captain of this team?  Notwithstanding Lindy Ruff’s intentions to address the captaincy after the season, I’d be fine with announcing it and making it effective today.  While you’re at it, you can slap an ‘A’ on Steve Montador and keep it there, even after you sign him to that contract extension that he richly deserves…

• It looks like everyone was wrong about Nathan Gerbe.  As it turns out, he does bring something to the table even when he’s not scoring.  Watch how much room the opposing defensemen are giving him when he gains the offensive blue line.  He creates space for his teammates, makes his line faster, and has a nasty little edge to boot.  Now if he could just work on that slap shot…

• So, the Pittsburgh Penguins have The French Connection, eh?  How original.  Luckily for you, blasphemous Pittsburgher, the nonexistence of a loose-lipped marketing guy at HSBC lecturing the commissioner on head shots will prevent blizzard-ravaged Buffalo from renaming their hockey arena “The Igloo”.

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I might agree on Vanek if he would shoot the puck when he has an opportunity to be a difference-maker. Last night he had two great chances near the end of the 3rd. First, he held on too long, skated around the back of the net and got zippo; moments later, he elected to pass across the goal mouth to that great sniper . . . Mike Grier.  Puhleeze! Feels like a player who refuses to step up and become “that guy” for the Sabres. I say the captain will be (and should be) Tyler Meyers.

Posted by Anim on 03/11/11 at 08:23 PM ET

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

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Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]

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