After Rough Stretch, Sabres Beat Isles
The Buffalo Sabres have not looked good at all over the course of the opening 11 games of the 1994 season. After an impressive 7 to 5 win over the Quebec Nordiques, the Sabres went on to lose their next 9 games. Many of those losses were embarrassing ones, where the Sabres have managed to give up more goals than any other team. After only 11 games played, the Sabres have given up a league-leading 73 goals against, while only scoring 33 of their own over that span.
Some bright news for the team was a much-needed confidence booster with a win over the New York Islanders. It took a strong showing from Sabres goaltender Glen Hanlon in stopping 32 of the 35 Islander shots throughout the game, and that included going 2 for 2 on the Isles' overtime shots. Sabres forward Craig Endean opened the scoring with his 4th of the year and ended the game in overtime with his 5th of the season to secure the Sabre victory.
To say this game was chippy would be a massive understatement. Both of these state rivals have been built to be extremely hard to play against, and the 5 separate fights throughout the contest was testament to that. There were an astonishing 107 penalty minutes handed out over the course of the 63 minute game, and it's surprising that this resulted in one of the rare wins for Buffalo this season.
Top line center for the Sabres this season and Free Agent pickup Dean Evason was injured badly in the game and is out indefinitely. Sabre defenseman Randy Johnson took a hard hit to the face from Isles player Brett Hedican and initial reports are saying he has a broken orbital bone and will be out for at least 3 to 4 weeks as well. For a team that doesn't boast a ton of depth, the next men up in these positions will have to do their best to continue with the momentum gained from the win on Long Island. Next, the Sabres get a rare night off before hosting the Detroit Red Wings the following evening. While it won't be the same kind of challenging game the Islanders provided, the Sabres are likely to get beaten up on the score sheet if they aren't careful.