The mere return of Ted Nolan and Pat LaFontaine gave suffering Buffalo Sabres fans something to cheer about on Friday. Even better, the Sabres didn’t just compete against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they managed a 3-1 win.
Trevor Smith was the only Maple Leafs player who could beat Ryan Miller tonight, as the American-born netminder stopped 32 out of 33 shots. Steve Ott seems like the exact type of guy who would flourish under a coach who loves hard-working players, so it’s no surprise that he had a strong night (one goal, one assist in 19:37 time on ice).
Maybe some will argue that there’s a placebo effect at work, but the bottom line is that plenty of observers seemed a little more positive about the Sabres, at least for one night.
Nolan and LaFontaine have a lot of work to do, but at least they’re off to a strong start.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger