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by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres
Thomas Vanek (Photo: Bill Wippert)
Not so random thoughts:

♦ Great to see Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy dominate a game.  Both were due to “break out” and control a game and they each did that against the Islanders. 

Vanek was engaged throughout the game starting with a great screen on Roy’s first period power play goal.  He scored a trademark power play goal in front of the net in the second period, and generated two great rush chances. 

Vanek was the offensive force he was last season before suffering the broken jaw.  Roy got his first goal of the season, but also went 14-0 on face offs.  That is a remarkable number.

The last Sabre to do that was Curtis Brown back in 2001, and the last NHL player to do it was Antoine Vermette for Ottawa in February of 2008.  It’s scary (good) to think how the team will do now with Vanek and Roy back on track.

♦  What is all this panic about Patrick Lalime? 

Let’s forget about the groin injury for a second.  Lindy is not afraid to play Lalime.  He and any coach will play Ryan Miller as much as he can without burning him out. 

Why wouldn’t he? 

Last week was the right time to play Miller in all three games in four nights.  The team was on a roll and there was three days until the next contest.  That’s actually the case until the last week of November when the schedule really condenses.  Lalime will be needed then. 

Patrick Lalime (Photo: Bill Wippert)
His only start this season was one of the worst first periods the team has played this season, and it was against an Atlanta team that is better than anyone thought.  The Thrashers are 6-4-1.  Have some faith, Lalime can play.

♦  With all the attention that Tyler Myers has received (we’re guilty on MSG), the other defensemen haven’t been given their just due. 

Henrik Tallinder has been excellent with the teenager and is playing like he did three years ago.  He was able to train hard in the off-season to regain upper body strength.  You can tell it’s made a difference as he delivers and takes hits to make plays. I’m sure being in the final year of his contract is also a motivating factor. 

Craig Rivet and Chris Butler look as if they have played together for five years.  Rivet has been solid and Butler has consumed as many minutes as Lindy will give him.  It’s hard to believe he’s in his first full season. 

And how about Steve Montador? 

He hasn’t had a steady partner yet this season due to injury, but that hasn’t held him back.  He was thought to be the stay at home tough guy, but he has shown ability to get up the ice and join the rush.  He’s also a great team guy and is well liked in the dressing room.

♦  I’m anxious for Friday’s game against Philly.  The Flyers have size and speed.  Jeff Carter and Mike Richards are stars in this league and it will be interesting to see how Chris Pronger handles the forecheck of Mike Grier, who was awesome against the Islanders.

♦  I think the League needs to address interference again.  Defensemen should not be allowed to hold a player up at the blue line after he dumps it in.  I am fine with a quick bump, but too often it is more than that. 
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