BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - 2017 has been kind to the Buffalo Sabres. Since the calendar turned the Sabres are 3-0-1, securing seven out of a possible eight points with a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
Five observations from Tuesday’s win:
More Anders Nilsson, please.
Anders Nilsson said after Tuesday's 39 save performance that his job is pretty simple -- he just needs to stop the puck.
Apparently, he's on to something because he did just that, stopping 39 of 40 Flyers shots.
Once again Nilsson proved that he deserves more games from here on out. I’m not ready to say he needs to be the starter — but I think Nilsson and Robin Lehner should at the very least be splitting games.
That’s not meant to be a knock on Robin Lehner, he too has looked solid — but Nilsson is hot and I think you ride the hot streak until he cools off.
These stars are crazy:
With his win on Tuesday Nilsson improves to 7-3-4. For what it’s worth, Lehner is 9-12-5. Nilsson also has a .930 save percentage, the fifth best in the N.H.L. At home Nilsson is 5-1-1 with a .947 save percentage and a 1.84 goals against average. Is that good?
Play Nilsson more, it’s that simple.
Don’t look now but Sam Reinhart has 12 points in his last 10 games (3G, 9A). Reinhart opened up the scoring for the Sabres in the second period on the power play, scooping home an errant shot from a tough angle to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead.
Reinhart is such a bust— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) January 11, 2017
Just minutes before Reinhart dished out an incredible saucer pass to Justin Bailey — but Bailey was hooked and denied on the play. The pass was one that deserved an assist, perfectly tape to tape. Luckily for Reinhart, he got his point just minutes later.
Reinhart added an assist later in the period on an Evander Kane goal and another assist on Marcus Foligno's empty netter. But remember everybody — Reinhart is a bust. Yes, that’s sarcasm.
I think I forgot just how fast William Carrier actually is. Against the Flyers Carrier created several odd-man rushes by simply chipping the puck along the boards and blowing by the defender.
His efforts were rewarded in the second period after he slammed home a juicy rebound on a Taylor Fedun shot. Once again Carrier’s speed allowed him to beat the defender to the puck and finish off the play. He hasn’t put up massive numbers this season, but If he keeps playing like he did on Tuesday that may soon change.
Eichel reaches milestone
Jack Eichel has already played in 100 NHL games and he’s still 20-year-old. Just think about that for a second.
On Tuesday Eichel showed the KeyBank Center crowd and the Flyers that he’s the real deal (we already knew this) with some of the prettiest plays from any Sabre this season.
some Eichel moves shortly before the 2nd goal pic.twitter.com/jlWg3bYh7o— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 11, 2017
If Reinhart (bust) finishes this play this very well could’ve been the Sabres goal of the year.
In his first 100 games, Eichel has been a treat to watch — he’s a hell of a hockey player and is becoming a superstar.
O'Reilly the difference maker
Since returning from appendectomy surgery Ryan O'Reilly has six points (1G, 5A) in the Sabres last three games. He's such an important piece to the Sabres lineup and has made that very clear in the Sabres last three games.
Remember, somebody traded this guy.