Upstart Sabres take 2-1 lead as run continues.

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Chuzwazza, May 13, 2006.

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  1. Chuzwazza

    Chuzwazza Registered User

    Mar 5, 2002
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    After tying up the series at 1-1 with a win in Boston, the Buffalo Sabres took command of the series with a 2-1 win over the Bruins. Jocelyn Thibault again starred for the underdogs, Stopping 35 of 36 shots last night, and almost single handedly carried the team on his back. That said, one can't underestimate the impact of the back-breaking short-handed goal Alexander Frolov scored with less than 10 minutes to go in the 3rd period. After upsetting the heavily favoured Devils in the 1st round, Buffalo actually looks as though it could defy the odds. Especially after leading the cancelled Game 2 as well.

    Who's Hot: Start with super rookie Alexander Frolov. While most of the other Calder candidates are either sitting at home watching or contributing little, Frolov is the driving force behind the Sabres offense, contributing on every shift in every situation. His +6 rating goes with 10 points (placing him 2nd in points) and he is 2nd in the league in goals as well at 5. Keep in mind he had a goal and an assist not count in the cancelled game (where he did not score in the official one) and his numbers would be even more gaudy. had Calder favourite Henrick Zetterberg (who played with far superior linemates) produced the way Frolov is right now, the Sens might have beaten the Flyers.

    Throw in the rest of that line, Josef Vasicek (5-4-9, +6) and Scotty Hartnell (1-7-8 +6) and you've got the group that's really making it happen out there. Hartnell has been solid all year as a very young captain, but when you realise that he's been on pretty much every in-form line the Sabres have been onall season and in the playoffs, you start to realise that he might be as critical to the team as anybody else.

    Blueliners Dick Tarnstrom (1-9-10 +8) and Bryan Berard (1-8-9 +2) have been phenominal. Tarnstrom ignites that Hartnell-Frolov-Vasicek line and hase been playing excellent defense along the way. Having Brooks Orpik (4th in the playoffs in hits) next to you can't possibly hurt. Berard is leading the PP as well as any point man in the league right now, and links up with Briere and Jokkinen nicely on the top line. It's mobile defensemen like these that GM Joshua Pitt covets, and are as much a reason for the teams success as anything else.

    And don't forget rookie Tuomo Ruutu, who's 3 PP goals in limited minutes leads the playoffs.

    Who's Struggling: Start with Jay Bowmeester. 0 points and a -5 rating in 9 games just doesn't cut it for the 2003-04 Calder runner up. Yes he's playing on a defensively weak 3rd line as the only true 2 way player, but surely he could show some signs of life out there offensively, and Marc-Andre Bergeron, who is not known as even a decent player in his own end, is only a -2. With the play of Brad Bombardir on the 4th line partnering Berard, he might get pushed down on the depth chart even more.

    The rest of the 3rd line. Barring Ruutu's 5 goals, nobody has really done much aside from let a fair few passed then more than they's scored. even the 4th line is outplaying them, and Ruutu is a part of that too.

    Series Outlook: Right now, the safe money is probably on Boston in 7. Yes the Sabres have come out on a roll, but it's probably only a matter of time before the boys from Beantown work out the Sabres and their shallow roster. Thibault is good, but no Patrick Roy, and can only stand on his head for so long. In the meantime, Sabres management can at least take heart in the fact that they just guaranteed themselves a game 6 at home, where they will earn an extra 1.3 million because of it.

    That's all...for now
    Buffalo Bill
    Hockey Editor for The Buffalo News
  2. 91

    91 Registered User

    Sep 23, 2005
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  3. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

    Feb 28, 2002
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    Great White North
    Congrats to Josh's Sabres, and to Claudio's Flyers, for each knocking out very respectable opponents. Kudos to Andrew and especially Rob for a season well played.

    I must admit, I'd hoped to meet you in the final, Rob, but then that WOULD be counting my chickens, and there's the little matter of a powerful Sharks squad still to go. Ah, well, at least you outlasted Nick! ;)

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