Following up on a 2-1 win in their season opener, the Binghamton Senators were every bit as impressive on Tuesday night, upending the Rochester Americans by a score of 3-1.
BSens goals came from David Dziurzynski who scored twice, including into an empty net, and defenceman Patrick Wiercioch who was making his regular season debut. Robin Lehner stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced for his second win of the season.
Through two games, there is plenty to like about the way the BSens are playing. They all seem to be on the same page and have looked strong in all three zones.
A few things that stood out for me last night.
- The play of Robin Lehner- Through two games, fans have to be impressed with what they've seen from Robin Lehner. The Binghamton broadcast crew made frequent mention of it last night but it's clear that Lehner is making a conscious effort to rely on his positioning more often. There is far less "guessing" to his game early on this season and the result is a goalie that is making all the saves he should make and able to control his rebounds with ease.
- Hoffman on another level- Again, it's a ridiculously small sample size but I have been extremely impressed by the game of Mike Hoffman. There were times in tonight's game where his speed and puck possession skills appeared to be on a higher level than any other player on the ice. Zibanejad/Silfverberg/Stone are the three names mostly commonly mentioned as guys that could crack the big club but you'd be wrong to rule Hoffman out. He appeared in one game last season and is extremely likely to get another chance at the NHL roster this season.
- Strong team play- Like the two points outlined above, you want to take this observation with a grain of salt but there has been a lot to like about the team play and structured approach by this Binghamton team under Luke Richardson. Tonight in particular, Bingo did a great job of limiting scoring chances and actually made life fairly easy for Lehner. Rochester had a line up that included the likes of Hodgson, Foligno and Adam and did a fantastic job shutting them down. While the entire defence core looked strong, I particularly liked the play of Jared Cowen (2pts) and Eric Gryba.
Binghamton now returns home for two home games this weekend. On Friday they play host to the Hershey Bears and on Saturday the Syracuse Crunch come to town.
The BSens continue to provide an excellent distraction for fans hungry for the return of the NHL. There was a ton of optimism yesterday after the NHL submitted a new proposal but there is clearly still work to be done. The NHL and NHLPA are expected to discuss some of the details of the proposal in a call today which will likely be followed up with a new proposal from the players.
Hopefully the two sides can build on the momentum generated yesterday afternoon.