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5 Takeaways From Sabres Win Over Toronto

T

he blowout at the First Niagara Center was absolutely electric. When Jack Eichel flew down the ice on a breakaway and buried a shot top shelf to score the first goal of the game, the crowd was as loud as it has been since the conference finals run in 2007. Here are my five takeaways from the Sabres dominating win against the Maple Leafs.

1. Robin Lehner showed the potential that he flashed in Ottawa- With a few shaky performances in the preseason, Lehner proved critics wrong against the Maple Leafs with a dominating 26 save shutout. Lehner was poised and played very aggressive. He came out of the net a lot with a few poke checks that were effective, however the young goaltender needs to pick and choose when to stay in the net. Often he was out of position but his athleticism allowed him to get back into the net.

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2. Sabres penalty kill could be a top unit in the NHL this season- This was the fifth game in a row where the Sabres had a short handed goal. Instead of having defensive forwards on the penalty kill together, they combined top puck possession skaters in Evander Kane, Jack Eichel, and Ryan O'Reilly on the top units. Eichel's goal was off a breakaway on the penalty kill. With Deslauriers and Legwand also in the mix, the Sabres seem to have an effective penalty kill.

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3. Nicolas Deslauriers is bringing an attitude to the Buffalo Sabres- After Dion Phaneuf leveled Brendan Guhle into the ice, Nicolas Deslauriers was having none of it. The fourth line winger quickly came over to Guhle's defense. Although refs broke up Phaneuf and Deslauriers, you could see the anger and fight that Deslauriers had. His attitude and toughness when it comes to defending teammates and checking on the ice will be a huge factor for the Sabres this season. Playing with Foligno and Larsson for most of the preseason, his offensive ability has sky rocketed as well. He notched another assist on Tuesday night's victory.

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4. Sam Reinhart still has some developing to do- The former second overall pick has had a very productive summer. Reinhart always seems to know exactly how a play is developing. The only problem so far with the second year center is often he is in position for a big play but can't seem to control the puck. This will come with more playing time in the NHL but it is something he needs to work on. Everything else seems to be looking good from Reinhart. He was once again sharp on face offs against the Maple Leafs. He had another assist which puts him at 3 assists in the preseason. If he continues to play on the third line with Gionta and Mcginn, I expect a productive season from Reinhart.

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5. Jack Eichel is already the best forward on the team- Although the Sabres have Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, and Tyler Ennis on the top line, it already looks like Jack Eichel is the best, most talented forward on the Sabres. His speed is unstoppable. In two strides Eichel stole the puck and buried a goal top shelf. His puck handling is better than anyone on the team. Yes even over Tyler Ennis. Although Ryan O'Reilly has been very productive on the top unit, to get the first line on a completely dominating level, Dan Bylsma should put Jack Eichel on the first line. Take the Senators game for example, Eichel and Ennis had some incredible plays together including a 2 on 1 goal where Eichel fed Ennis across the ice. The explosiveness of the two and Evander Kane seems nearly unstoppable.

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The optimism with this team is incredible. However the lines play out, it will still be the most exciting and optimistic season that the Sabres have had since 2007.

Thanks for stopping in.

Twitter- @DiBisportstalk

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