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Lightning-Quick Thoughts + Prospect Update

October 26, 2021, 7:25 AM ET [707 Comments]
Hank Balling
Buffalo Sabres Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
“They’re doing more than holding the fort down,” Dan Dunleavy said as time expired Monday night. “They’re building one."

The Sabres were badly outplayed in the first half of the game before presenting the Lightning with a reverse UNO card midway through the second period. Here are some thoughts from Buffalo’s 5-1 win over Tampa Bay last night at KeyBank Center:

- Craig Anderson can play the puck well. In fact, he’s such a magician with it behind the net that his teammates don’t know where he’s going with it at times. It’ll take some time for Anderson to build chemistry with his teammates so both parties can get on the same page.

- Rob Ray didn’t think that Tage Thompson was shooting to score in the first period when Thompson fired a wrister that handcuffed Brian Elliott before ricocheting to Victor Olofsson. I’m going to go ahead and disagree there. The play wouldn’t have worked if Thompson had fired a shot off Elliott’s pad. It worked because Thompson fired a tricky shot that the Lightning goaltender thought he had. (narrator: he didn’t have it.)

- Good to see John Hayden get involved in the physical game with the Lightning. Taking off-setting minors in the first period was a pyrrhic victory, though. The Lightning thrive with more room for their skilled forwards. The ensuing 4-on-4 play generated a powerplay for the more skilled Lightning after Rasmus Asplund took a penalty while trying to slow Tampa down.

- The combined age of Brian Elliott and Craig Anderson? 76 years old. I tried to track down a matchup with an older pair of goalies. No dice. I have to think Dominik Hasek would have played a game in his 40s against another old goalie like Curtis Joseph. 1,000 internet points if anyone can lock down the oldest combined goalie age in an NHL matchup.

- Sabres fans are pumped about Dylan Cozens – and rightly so – but man, oh man, he has to cut down on the offensive zone giveaways. It’s been a problem through the first six games as he has a tendency enter the offensive zone, pull up and fire a pass to a non-existent trailing Sabre. The play then transitions the other way. Cozens needs to start driving the net hard instead of getting too pretty.

- Could have used some more Halloween-themed organ music. “Thriller” perhaps.

- Someone should make a twitter account for that pesky penalty box door that delayed the game throughout the second period. It was surprising that the officials opted to keep playing the game without fixing the door during the early going of the second period. There have been plenty of injuries over the years as a result of players falling into open benches. The refs eventually did delay the game to get the door fixed.

- The first half of the second period was absolutely brutal for the Sabres. It took them 13 minutes to get a shot. These repeat Cup champion Lightning players are pretty good at hockey.
- Craig Anderson is really fun to watch as a fan of goaltending. There’s an element of stand-up goaltending in his game that’s a throw back to an earlier era. It makes sense that the 40-year-old goaltender has a bit of old-school flair, and it also makes sense that he stays on his feet as much as possible to conserve energy due to his status as an elder statesman. It’s a unique style.

- The small details in Tage Thompson’s game are really starting to shine through. The big man used his frame midway through the third period to countercheck his man as they both raced for the puck in Thompson’s defensive zone. That’s a subtle, veteran-savvy play. That type of play could be called interference but it never is.

- This team is not 4-1-1 good. In fact, this game against the Lightning was perhaps the team’s worst game of the season. The Sabres can take solace in the fact that they battled through a brutal second period that somehow saw them escape with a 2-1 lead, though the performance will not get the team 2 points on most nights.

- Don Granato was livid on the bench near the end of the 3rd period after the Sabres were charged for an icing. The Sabres coach thought the puck deflected off a Lightning player and he let the referees and linesmen know exactly what he thought. I haven’t seen a Sabres coach that animated in a long time. Shades of Lindy Ruff.

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Here’s a mini prospect report regarding the Sabres’ young up-and-comers. All stats via eliteprospects.com

Rochester:

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (G) – 2 games played, .813 sv%, 4.15 GAA

JJ Peterka (LW)– 1 goal, 4 assists for 5 points in 3 games played

Jack Quinn (C/RW)– 4 goals, 2 assists for 6 points in 3 games played

Linus Weissbach (LW)– 2 goals, 1 assist for 3 points in 3 games played

Oskari Laaksonen (D), and Casey Fitzgerald (D)– 1 point each

Matej Pekar (C/LF) – 0 goals, 1 assist for 1 point in 3 games played

Brett Murray (LW) – 0 goals, 0 assists for 0 points in 2 games played


University of Michigan:

Owen Power (LD)– 1 goal, 5 assists for 6 points in 6 games played

Erik Portillo (G) – 5-1-0, 9.14 sv%, 2.18 GAA


Elsewhere:

Devon Levi (G) (NCAA) 3-2-0 1.40 GAA .950 sv%

Ryan Johnson (D) (NCAA) – 1 goal, 3 assists for 4 points in 6 games played

Isak Rosen (W/C) (SHL) – 2 goals, 2 assists for 4 points 13 games played

Prokhor Poltapov (LW/RW) (VHL) – 3 goals, 3 assists for 6 points in 9 games played

Alexander Kisakov (LW/C) (MHL) – 7 goals, 4 assists for 11 points in 13 games played

Olivier Nadeau (RW/C) (QMJHL) – 7 goals, 7 assists for 14 points in 10 games

Filip Cederqvist (LW/C) (SHL) – 4 goals, 2 assists for 6 points in 13 games played

Viljami Marjala (QMJHL) – 1 goal, 5 assists for 6 points in 9 games played
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