I don’t have a ton of time now, so I’m going to hash out a quick skeleton of the major points from tonight’s game against Tampa. I’ll come back to it throughout the day on Thursday for everyone.
This was a huge win for the team. Looking at the simple box score, the Sabres scored four unanswered goals to come back and win on home ice. This was all done behind the tremendous efforts of, once again–who else?–Thomas Vanek.
Vanek has been unreal this season and tonight was no excpetion. It seems every time the Lightning pop up on the schedule Vanek has a big night.
The Sabres went down early but came back towards the end of the first thanks to some energy from Paul Gaustad and Adam Mair.
Goose won his fight in a landslide and caused a four minute powerplay for Buffalo. Next thing you know, the puck goes off of Stafford’s stick, past Mike Smith and it’s suddenly a one-goal game.
-Lydman had a very solid game, a microcosm of the great season he’s been having. He’s quietly been very good.
-Sekera struggled tonight in my opinion. He had a few good battles with Lecavalier in front of the net but for the most part he looked a little jumpy, indecisive and..well…just not good. Hopefully he’ll be able to shake it off, otherwise I don’t think Lindy would hesitate throwing Paetsch in for a game or two.
-The Sabres were physical tonight. Not just the Goose and Mair fights, but the entire team had a little extra fight in them tonight. Even Gerbe towards the end of the game went out of his way to finish a check in his own zone. It’s the little things the team has done the last three games that have made the difference. They’re crashing the net and creating opportunities with their bodies. Stuff they don’t do nearly often enough.
-Miller was very strong tonight. Came up huge when they needed him to, especially in the third.
-Officiating was a joke tonight. The delay of game call (I though the officials were supposed to blow the whistle when they lost sight of the puck…), the no goal call (was there a whistle?), the boarding call (was it even icing?). It goes on and on. Between what we’ve seen the refs do to Kaleta and Roy, then the swearing incident and now tonight’s job, you almost wonder if there is a slight bias against this team. It really shouldn’t matter, but it makes you think sometimes.
-A few rows above me, there was a little girl who decided to scream during every stoppage. For the entire stoppage. Thank God her parents took her home during the second period because I’m pretty sure someone was going to snap and throw her into the 100 Level.
-Speaking of leaving early, Bill Clinton didn’t even stay past the first period. I’m sure he has other committments and whatnot, but there’s something about going to a game and leaving early that doesn’t sit well with me (then again I’m the kind of guy who felt guilty leaving a UB basketball game last Saturday at halftime). At least they introduced Clinton early in the game…otherwise it would have been pretty embarrassing.
I’ll have more throughout the day (I knew I would probably regret going to a game during exam week…). In the meantime, feel free to talk amongst yourselves in the comments. I’ll probably end up throwing a few of the talking points into this post as well.