Shutouts for Robin Lehner have been few and far between since he joined the Sabres, but the Swede picked a very opportune time to record his first of the new season. Coming off a terrific comeback win vs. Boston last Saturday, the Sabres needed to capitalize and turn it into momentum, and Lehner was just what the doctor ordered.
Visiting Detroit and Buffalo were neck-in-neck Tuesday night, both registering 32 shots on goal in a very tight game. The only score of the contest came on a heads-up play from Benoit Pouliot in the second. Whilst behind the net, the Sabres newcomer noticed Red Wings G Jimmy Howard not hugging the post and quickly rapped the puck around for a bank shot goal. The 1-0 final was Buffalo’s first home win of the year and Detroit’s fifth straight loss.
Both goaltenders were very sharp. Despite going 0-4 on the power play on the evening, the Sabres had plenty of solid scoring chances that Howard foiled. The loss was the Upstate New York native’s first ever against Buffalo in regulation. Detroit kept Lehner very busy as well. The 26-year-old made a number of impressive saves, including a point-blank stop on Martin Frk late in the second. The zero was the sixth of his career.
The game was also marked by a number of cheap penalties. Detroit’s Dylan Larkin was called for three stick infractions, when actually he just tapped someone with his stick. Jack Eichel was also called for a similar reason. The NHL has stated its intent to cut back on slashes and hooks, but calling players for making even the slightest of stick contact is reactive, not proactive. I understand it could potentially eliminate types of cheap shots, but the results have just put teams on undeserved penalty kills so far. Hopefully this will die down.
Victor Antipin assisted on Pouliot’s goal for his first NHL point.
I also enjoyed Rob Ray’s presence on the NBC broadcast. It made the usually atrocious coverage much easier to watch. Ray isn’t the best analyst sometimes, but I’d take him over Pierre McGuire any day of the week.
Buffalo is right back in action tomorrow night as they make a short trip to Columbus to meet Nick Foligno and the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. It will be on NBC again unfortunately. Hopefully Rayzor will be on the broadcast again. 8:00 ET.