It was the perfect starting point to the 2013 season. YNN's Andy Young was in the Sabres dressing room immediately after the game and has the post game thoughts.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Adding toughness was a big priority for the Sabres coming into the season, and it certainly showed up in the opener. From the physical - Drew Stafford's fight to backup a teammate, to the mental - rallying from a second period deficit - the Sabres grit allowed their skill to shine through as well.
"Everyone in this locker room, no matter who it is, from guys like Van (Vanek) all the way down to guys like John Scott, you've got to be harder to play against," winger Drew Stafford said. "It's something from last year we talked about over the summer, that as a team we wanted to bring that this season and with a shortened schedule we know that coming out hard is very important."
"I thought it was awesome of Drew Stafford, what he did to stick up for a teammate," said forward Steve Ott. "Kind of was a proving point to everybody. He's got a big letter on his chest for a reason. He's a heck of a leader. Right in that moment right there, it spoke volumes of this team. I think we're gonna have a lot of sandpaper, a lot of guys stepping up for each other here. And we believe in each other."
"It's to raise the level of intensity of physical intensity and be a tougher team to play against," head coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think everybody's determined to become that team. It doesn't happen in one game; it was great to see tonight. It something that you've got to earn after maybe five 10 games and you can do it on a consistent basis and the other team finally says these guys are getting really tough to play against. It's start a tonight, it was great to see. I think the fans really got behind us on it, and that part was great to see too."
"Good linemates, a little bit lucky at the same time," winger Thomas Vanek commented on his five-point effort. "It won't happen too many more times I'll tell you that. Again it's the two points that counts right now, and we've got to keep going in a short season."
Not much time for the Sabres to savor the opening day victory - as will often be the case in this compacted season - they turn right around for a road trip to Toronto on Monday.