BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For the first time since the 2012-2013 season the Buffalo Sabres are 2-0 to start the season. The Sabres topped the New Jersey Devils 7-2 on Saturday night in the team's home opener.
Victor Olofsson and Sam Reinhart scored twice while three others also notched their first goals of the season. The Sabres will be back in action on Monday, October 7th when they travel to Columbus. Continue reading for some observations from tonight's game.
Success on the power play and the penalty kill
The first two goals came on the first two power play opportunities with four different players on that top unit getting points. Another PP goal games on the third opportunity later on in the game which at that time, gave them a 100% success rate. Between the team’s first two games of the season, they’re 4-of-6 on the PP which is a heck of a way to start the season. To go along with that stat the Sabres are just as good, if not better, on the penalty kill. Through their first two games they’ve allowed just one goal on seven opportunities. I know we haven’t even begun to dip our toes into the season but you’ve really got to like those numbers this early on.
Opponent strikes... Sabres respond... Repeat
How many times last season did we see the Sabres give up a goal and then just crumble? In Thursday's game, with a 1-0 lead, the Penguins responded to tie it all up but it didn't take long for the Sabres to respond and take the lead for good. On Saturday we saw the same. The Sabres had a 2-0 lead heading into the second period when the Devils struck within the first minute of play. It took just a few minutes for the Sabres to respond and etend that lead back to two. In the third period, the Devils once again struck early and quick yet three minutes later, the Sabres had ANOTHER response. When a team cuts into your deficit, it's all about how you respond and the Sabres are doing just that and doing it well.
Different game, same aggressiveness
One of the biggest things we saw when the Sabres opened up the season a few nights ago was their energy all game long. Saturday brought a different game and different opponent but that energy was nearly the exact same. From the get-go the Sabres were putting pressure on the Devils and they weren’t wasting any time once they had control of the puck. Once regaining control off a turnover, they immediately skated the opposite way showing no hesitation. They weren’t afraid to get pucks to the net, outshooting the Devils 36-20. New head coach Ralph Krueger has gotten these players to buy in and it hasn’t taken long for the fans to as well.
An atmosphere we haven’t seen in a long time.. and it's a sight to see
Speaking of fans, KeyBank Center was alive and it was so good to see. Six periods later and the fans, whether they be at home or at KBC, have yet to boo the team off the ice. On Saturday we saw standing ovations and fans chanting their desire for another goal. The atmosphere was incredible to say the least and if this team continues to play with the same grit and physicality we’ve seen them show so far, the arena is going to be a desired place to be on game nights. What a time to be alive.