We're going to move past all the hockey coach cliches here. Phil Housley went through his Rolodex of them to us Monday morning in four minutes: Just get a different look, fresh combinations, better balance. He even hit my favorite: We don't number lines. Even though, of course, coaches and GMs routinely talk about their "top six" and "bottom six" forwards. So let's call what we saw today from the Buffalo Sabres what it is -- Jack Eichel has been demoted.
So about that line shuffling ....Phil Housley did what any self-respecting NHL coach would do Monday with the worst offensive team in the NHL. It was time to play musical chairs with his forward combinations. Of course, the way the Buffalo Sabres are going lately, it had a deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic feelThat's especially true when you're trying to score against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who feature a rugged defense and one of the game's best goaltenders in Sergei Bobrovsky.
Through Friday's games. Last week's rankings in parentheses. 1. Tampa Bay Lightning. Through all the goals, it's easy to overlook Vasilevskiy's NHL-leading 14 wins in the net. (1)3 Toronto Maple Leafs. Hard to believe they could win first four without Matthews (4). 4 Winnipeg Jets. Surprise of the Central: Shootout win over Flyers extends hot streak to 7-1-1. (9)5 New Jersey Devils. Schneider falls two seconds shy of 65-minute shutout of Leafs. (6)6 Columbus Blue Jackets.
@SabresStats There is no narrative. We write what we see and analyze as we see fit. Multiple outlets wrote the same thing I did. That was what happened this morning. As it changes in the third period of the game, we write that too.
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Selecting a term
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