Here we are in a brand new hockey season and it’s about time! The Buffalo Sabres took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings, a team they will become more familiar with due to the new realignment. The game for the Sabres was sort of how they left off last season, unsure of themselves with no real leaders and a new coach.
During the off season, changes were made to the Sabres and included getting rid of some key strong players and picking up some new younger ones that would help with the “rebuilding” of the team. This game has shown that this may be a long struggle for the team to get better playing with each other and getting the young guys accustomed to being in the NHL.
Making their NHL debuts were 18-year-old defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and 19-year-old forward Zemgus Giregnson. Steve Ott also made his debut as the Sabres road games Captain, sharing the responsibility with Thomas Vanek, serving as the home games captain.
The Sabres powerplay, a mere 29th last season, started on a sour note as they were unable to capitalize on two 5 on 3 chances. Things only got worse with 12 minutes gone in the first and Detroit gets on the board with a goal by Mikael Samuelsson and less than 40 seconds later Pavel Datsyuk scored for Detroit to make it 2-0. The game was not looking up for the Sabres at this point. Their inexperience and lack of decent powerplay units were a good sign that they need some extra practice if they are going to be able to compete this year.
Detroit had another goal go behind Ryan Miller in the second period only to have it waived off due to Daniel Cleary giving Miller a little interference. However, they almost made up for this with a penalty shot less than a minute later. The shot was denied by Miller and the Sabres still had a chance.
Buffalo made a valiant effort at coming back in the game in the third period and Zemgus Girgensons scored his first NHL career goal to cut Detroit’s lead in half. This would be the only goal for Buffalo in the game, however, as they fell to Detroit 2-1 and they start the season 0-1.
Buffalo plays their home opener on Friday against the Ottawa Senators and Detroit goes on the road for their first road game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.