The new year has started off well for the Buffalo Sabres. Last night they pulled out a 4-3 win over the Oilers with a 3 point game from Drew Stafford and a multi point game from Derek Roy. Lindy Ruff overhandled his team again by making dramatic line changes that started in a poor start for the Sabres. Ruff quickly put the lines back to normal and the Sabres started to control play and earned the W.
The best news in months came down today. Big #57 Tyler Myers is ready to go and will play tomorrow in Carolina. Myers is the most important player on this team, he eats big minutes, provdies offense from the point, and plays the PK and PP. The real evaluation of the Sabres can now begin. If they continue to struggle with 57 in the lineup then they really do have serious problems. I however am under the belief that Myers will start right the ship especially in the D-zone. This may also help the play of Ryan "three or more" Miller. He has looked good and awful at times since returning from his head injury. Myers returning will result in TJ Brennan heading back to Rochester, he has played well in his time in Buffalo, he will be part of a young upstart D next season (Myers, Brennan, and McNabb).
Also on the injury front Tyler Ennis and Ville Leino are ready to get back into action Saturday or Tuesday at the latest. This will result in Zack Kassian being sent back to Rochester (if not before that) and Matt Ellis heading back to the press box. Still the Sabres will have a decision to make, who else sits? McCormick might be the person who watches from the press box as well, he sat last night for Kassian with Sabres looking to dress a more offensive lineup. Boyes has not played great since returning, but he provides skill and almost a given in the shootout. Here's how I expect the lines to look in the next few games:
Before I end this I want to touch on the play of Nathan Gerbe. The 5'5 Boston College product has been the life and soul of this Sabres team all season. He is the smallest guy on the ice, but plays like the biggest. He has no fear and had lightning fast speed. He leads his team on and off the ice which is exceptional for such a young player. I hope to see at least a large "A" on his small jersey next season. He scored a nasty backhand breakaway goal last night to close out the Oil a true goal scorers goal. The Flyers remember how nasty Gerbe can be, check out this playoff clinching goal in the home finale last year:
Sabres next 5 games are very important (@CAR vsWPG @TOR vsTOR @NYI) at least 8 out of 10 would be nice here.