Buffalo Sabres surprise NHL with dominant win over Canadiens

Craig Anderson #41 of the Buffalo Sabres is congratulated by his teammates after beating the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
Craig Anderson #41 of the Buffalo Sabres is congratulated by his teammates after beating the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /

Despite playing in front of a smaller crowd than usual, the Buffalo Sabres put forth an effort no one saw coming with a blowout win over the Montreal Canadiens.

To say this has been a tough offseason for Buffalo Sabres fans would be an understatement. With all the drama surrounding Jack Eichel and the roster teardown, there wasn’t a lot to be excited about this season.

That’s why many were taken back by the performance the Sabres had in their season opener as they dominated the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-1 victory. While there were only half the number of fans in attendance at KeyBank Center, they made sure to give the support the team deserved considering the effort the players played with.

If there is one goal that should be at the top of the Sabres to-do list, it should be to repair the relationship with the fanbase. There shouldn’t be an expectation to win games like this consistently but you can already see that this team wants to establish some momentum early.

There were questions surrounding who would be asked to step up offensively with Eichel away from the team. Judging by the team’s pregame video, they expect it to be a group effort.

"“The men in this arena play for more than glory. They play for those who wait for winter. For those attending for the first time. And for those who have made that coooold march down Washington (Street) time and time again. longtime play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret said via the Buffalo News. “And if you earn it, they’ll stand alongside you. On bad days. And better days. So dare greatly. Fight for them. This thing of ours is forever.”"

Veteran players step up for Buffalo Sabres with full team effort

The season opener was a step in the right direction to showing the Sabres faithful that this team isn’t worth giving up on yet. It should be encouraging to see that Buffalo got contributions from players who have been a part of the miserable times in Jeff Skinner, Zemgus Girgensons and Colin Miller.

Even more impressive was the performance from goaltender Craig Anderson who made 30 saves for the victory. The 40-year-old didn’t see a lot of tough chances against him and if he can provide average goaltending, this team should see improvement.

Robert Hagg was also a standout from this game as he showed off his toughness blocking six shots. The 26-year-old is getting a fresh start after being acquired in the Rasmus Ristolainen trade and got his season off on the right foot.

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What did you think about the Sabres win over the Canadiens? Whose performance stood out the most? Let us know in the comments below.