Monday wasn’t the first time Tyler Myers suffered from the embarrassment of being a healthy scratch. Nope. Way back in junior, about five years ago, the Sabres defenseman sat shortly after joining the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets.
What happened then? Just like recently, Myers was struggling, undeserving of a lineup spot.
“Same thing,” Myers said Wednesday prior scoring twice in his return, a 5-3 Sabres loss to the New Jersey Devils at the First Niagara Center. “I’ll figure it out. It’s something that needed to be done, and I understand why they did it. It’s just a matter of responding.”
Clearly, sitting lit a fire under Myers. He never wants to experience it again. The 21-year-old star responded by channeling his elite form from the past, skating aggressively and playing physically in 22:01 on the ice.
Myers scored a first period power-play goal near the crease, his first tally since March 1, a 37-game stretch. He zoomed down the right wing and beat Devils goalie Martin Brodeur in the third period. Early, however, Myers was caught out of position on a short-handed goal.
“Tyler skated well, got up in the play, made a great shot getting up,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “But he was in on four or five other opportunities. He probably skated as well as he skated. He had a little bit of an edge to him, too, which was nice.”
The 6-foot-8 Myers showcased that edge in the second period, knocking down Dainius Zubrus, who’s three inches shorter, with an arm to the head as the two battled for the puck. Zubrus, playing his 1,000th NHL game, left and later returned.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer said he “didn’t like the look” of the hit.
“It looked to me like one of the head shots they are trying to get out of the game,” DeBoer said.