5 observations from Sabres 3-2 win over Senators

Posted at 11:14 PM, Sep 27, 2016

The Buffalo Sabres are officially undefeated at the Key Bank Center. Tuesday, the Sabres knocked off the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime, after a beautiful goal from defenseman Jake McCabe sealed the game in the extra session.

Although the Sabres got the win, there were some things that need to be cleaned up with the regular season just weeks away. Five observations from the game:

Cody Franson looks sloppy early on

When training camp opened last week, Sabres veteran defenseman Cody Franson said the 2015-2016 season was his worst as a pro. Tuesday, it didn’t look like things have gotten much better. At times, the 29-year-old defenseman just looked out of place, making sloppy plays at both ends of the ice. Franson did however, get a few nice shots off from the point on the power play and can provide a spark offensively from that position. Monday at Penn State, I thought Casey Nelson -- fellow Sabres defenseman -- was one of the best players on the ice. Will Nelson do enough to take a full-time roster spot? Will Franson’s woes continue? Only time will tell — but I like Nelson’s upside.

Lehner looked like the guy Tim Murray traded for

Robin Lehner’s health was maybe the Sabres biggest question of the offseason, and on Tuesday, he looked just fine. Ottawa owned the Sabres in the shot department, especially early on, outshooting Buffalo 39 to 32.  The goals that Lehner did let in were flukey. The first goal went off Chris Neil in front of the net and bounced behind the Sabres goaltender before anyone on the ice knew what was going on. The second goal deflected from one side of the rink to the other -- right to a wide open Derek Brassard. Halfway through the third period Lehner made the save of the night, flashing his glove on a wide-open Kyle Turris from just outside the blue paint. “It’s a great step for him,” Sabres Coach Dan Bylsma said about Lehner’s performance after the game. Bylsma said Lehner looked outstanding all night.

Ennis trying to do too much

Hey, we’ve seen this before! Tuesday’s matchup with Ottawa was Tyler Ennis’ first ‘real’ game in 2016. At times, the 26-year-old forward showed that he still has a magic pair of mitts and can make something out of nothing. However, he was trying to do that too often. Ennis is at his best when he’s improvising without trying too hard to make things happen. He gets a pass in his first game back because obviously he wants to go out and make an impact. Bylsma said after the game that both Ennis and Okposo need a little more work but at times showed just how special they can be.

Derek Grant and Nick Baptiste tonight’s MVP’s

- The linemates were the Sabres best players on Tuesday, and it really wasn’t even close. Grant finished with a goal and two assists -- including a perfect pass to Jake McCabe on the game winner. Baptiste finished with a goal and an assist, along with plenty of scoring chances -- especially in the second period. Both players have had an impressive start to training camp and are continuing to make an impression. “I’m trying to come in here confident and play my game,” Grant said after the game. “I’m coming here and trying to force my way on the team.”

Baptiste said this year he’s not focusing on puting pucks in the net, he just wants to play his game and so far it’s working. “I was squeezing my stick a little bit too much. I was so focused on scoring and impressing on the stat sheet that my game as a whole was taking a hit.”

If the pair continue their play they’ll both be tough to send back to Rochester. However, even if that’s where they end up, they still may end up having an impact in Buffalo this season.

It’s lit(really)

If you were at Key Bank Center or watching at home you may have noticed it’s significantly brighter this year. The reason, is because of some fancy new LED lights lining the rink. It’s noticeable to those at the rink, but even more so noticeable on the TV broadcast. The colors on the ice pop more and there’s almost an extra glow to the ice surface. 

The Sabres are back at it Thursday night when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. in St. Catherines.

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