Buffalo Sabres Insider App Twitter Facebook

TAKEAWAYS FROM THE THIRD PRESEASON GAME

Brian Duff's analysis of the Buffalo Sabres' 5-2 win over Carolina

Thursday, 09.19.2013 / 11:03 PM / Features
By Brian Duff  - Sabres TV Host
X
Share with your Friends


TAKEAWAYS FROM THE THIRD PRESEASON GAME
Brian Duff\'s analysis of the Buffalo Sabres\' 5-2 win over Carolina
             Johan Larsson

“He’s got solid 10-year pro written all over him.”

That was a direct message tweet I received from an old media friend in Ottawa right after the game tonight.

The subject matter - Johan Larsson.

Thank goodness I’m not the only one talking about this guy in glowing terms!

Hey, we all of our favorites, players that for whatever reason we can sometimes overlook the bad and over-accentuate the positives.

In Larsson’s case, it’s just been a steady progression since he joined the organization last April from Minnesota in the Jason Pominville deal.

So far this preseason (he and Mikhail Grigorenko are the only Sabres to skate in all three games) Larsson has centered Zemgus Girgensons and Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis and Joel Armia, and Corey Tropp and Ville Leino.

After game one vs Montreal, coach Ron Rolston noted that while pleased with Grigorenko and Larsson, they needed to keep making adjustments to be better each night.

Considering how much time the coach spent answering questions about Larsson (who was later credited with two goals, after originally earning a goal and an assist) it’s safe to say he’s been making the right adjustments.

He ended the night with a game high seven shots on goal, won 71 percent of his faceoffs, and played 15:44, the lowest of his three games so far, but he did top all Sabres forwards with 3:51 of short-handed time on ice, including one memorable kill where he was relentless in keeping the play alive and creating multiple chances around the ‘Canes goal.

Beyond Larsson, the other highlights up front were clearly created by the Hodgson line.

Joel Armia’s unassisted tally was nice, but the play of the game belonged to Thomas Vanek - still the best passer on this team - when he fed Hodgson for what turned out to be the game winner with just under 6 minutes to play.

Tyler Ennis had his second consecutive strong game on the left wing despite not finding the scoresheet.

And Ville Leino, through these eyes anyway, is 2-for-2 in good games this preseason.

Full marks to the pairing of Brayden McNabb and Mark Pysyk for their plus-4 nights.

A Rochester duo a year ago, there was an expected comfort level for the duo and that gained traction in period three.

After the scoring changes, McNabb left the building a with 1 goal and 2 assists, and perhaps the boost he needs to really thrust himself into this battle on the blueline.

Otherwise it was a pretty uneven game at times when trying to evaluate players. I canvassed a lot of people on press row and there was very little consistency in the opinions being expressed.

Bottom line, the Sabres have trailed by a goal six times in this preseason and have answered every time. Ryan Miller deserves a lot of credit for not letting this game get out of hand in period one. The players in front of him did their part in the final 40.

See you Saturday on the Blue and Gold Carpet!

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82