There is still plenty of time left but Saturday night hasn’t gotten off to a great start for the Buffalo Sabres. As John Vogl points out, they went down 1-0 to the lowly Maple Leafs in Toronto during the first period – on a shorthanded goal, no less – and might be without their richly paid sniper. Vogl and others point out that Thomas Vanek “went to the dressing room,” which is code for “could be injured.”
Update: the good news is that Vanek’s been back in action. The bad news is that, relatively speaking, he looks a little sluggish/out of it.
To make matters just a little bit worse, the Washington Capitals lead the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in front of a Verizon Center crowd that has been boisterous regarding the return of Nicklas Backstrom. (Oh yeah, the Ottawa Senators also beat the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout today, to rub a little more salt in the wound.)
Naturally, if the stretch run is teaching us anything, it’s that early results don’t mean everything. Vanek could be OK and a one-goal deficit (or lead) is far from a sure thing.
Still, this isn’t exactly the way Buffalo wanted things to begin.