We’re live bloggin’ Sabres vs. Coyotes. Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments as the game moves along.
9:01 We open up the Coyotes feed with a heavy metal montage. As Dave Strader informs us, the song is called “Pain.” I don’t think I’ll be searching for it on iTunes anytime soon, but that’s just me.
9:03: And it appears Phoenix will wear their black foxtrot uniforms tonight.
9:08: Kevin Sylvester brings his insight to the broadcast. Apparently, Miller, Vanek, Connolly and Stafford are very good.
9:10 Phoenix starts out with some early heat. We’re only two minutes in, but it doesn’t look like the Sabres have great legs. Miller may have to be very very good tonight.
9:13: Ummm Pat Kaleta’s back?
9:13: PAT KALETA’S BACK!
9:15: Connolly-Vanek-Stafford with decent pressure. Nothing spectacular, but better than any effort they’ve put in thus far.
9:16: Kaleta’s back. We always whine here in the Roost about him not dropping the gloves and here he is, in his first game back, already making an impact. A nice fight with Carcillo.
9:20: Lots of Sabres fans in attendance. Good to see.
9:21: Spacek with your call-in Carruba Collision of the game.
9:22: Miller stops Doan on a nice break. Watching Doan in the Skills Competition last weekend is a reminder of how talented he is when he has some space.
9:23: Ellis in the box for slashing. Weak call. Let’s see how the team responds.
9:27: And they kill it.
9:30 Sabres with very good pressure on a delayed penalty. This might be a successful powerplay.
9:31: Miller bails out the powerplay with an outstanding lateral save against a 2-on-1. Wooowww.
9:34: I think we’re watching Gragnani’s first shift of the night.
9:35: Ryan checked the stat box. Apparently he’s played 2:10 but he wasn’t noticeable until now.
9:37: Just throwing this out there: Hecht is making $3.8 million this season.
9:38: So Paetsch and Carcillo wanted to go, the chased each other into open ice and then the officials broke it up before anything could happen. Now they’re each getting penalties. That was ridiculous.
9:42: Vanek driving hard to the net. Dropped by Hale into the crossbar. Net came flying off, looked dramatic. Not really dirty on the replay but still not entirely sportsmanlike.
9:43: Officially, Carcillo and Paetsch each got a two and a ten-minute penalty. Weak sutff.
9:44: And that’s the end of the first. Be back in 15.
10:05: First period shots were 15-6 in favor of the Coyotes. Not looking much better as we’re four minutes into the second.
10:07: A cluster in front of the net leads to a Connolly goal. One thing about Connolly is that he still isn’t afraid to crash the net.
10:15: A very nice play by Roy as he sets up Paille. Roy goes inside-outside. We should have a video of this up later. 2-0 Sabres. Buffalo is doing just enough things right to take control of this game. A tight-checking, hard-working road game and things are working out so far.
10:16: Kotalik cranks one off the post. They’re not letting up yet.
10:19: Thank you, Coyotes feed for reminding us of that debacle against Phoenix last year. Jocelyn Thibault sends his best.
10:25: And now Paetsch is able to get his licks in. It’s been a while since we’ve seen two fights in once game. Not the best fight for Paetsch, but it’s nice to see different players get their hands dirty.
10:29: Shots for the game are 17-15, Coyotes. Sabres out-shooting Phoenix 9-2 in the second so far.
10:32: Phoenix might want to try just dumping the puck in considering the Sabres are missing three of their top six defensemen. That is if they want to try and win.
10:36: The powerplay just isn’t clicking. Interesting to see Gragnani playing the point.
10:37: It’s nice to be able to listen to a really good announcing team too. Strader and Pang are true pros.
10:37: And that’s all she wrote for the second period. If the Sabres keep chipping away like they have been, they should have two points locked up. Unfortunately, we had similar ideas about the game in Calgary.
10:59: So Connolly gets hooked in the Phoenix end and no call. Paetsch gets near a Phoenix player and the ref’s arm goes up. Officials have not been pretty mediocre so far and the Sabres are on the PK again.
11:00: Kaleta on the penalty kill stirring up trouble again at center ice. It’s nice having him back in the line up to stir the pot.
11:02: Another quality penalty kill for the Sabres. That’s their fifth kill of the night.
11:10: Gaustad to the box for the second time tonight. He took the body though so it may not be such a bad penalty to take. We’ll see how the Sabres’ sixth penalty kill of the night fares.
11:13: And the PK wins another one. Miller’s been fantastic so far.
11:16: We get word that Spacek’s out for the game. Great. Hello Tyler Myers?
11:24: Annnnnnnd another penalty for the Sabres. Rivet’s going for delay of game. I still hate that rule. Let’s see if the Sabres can hang on one more time.
11:25: Lydman very strong in front of the net. With three minutes left, if Phoenix doesn’t get on the board here, they can pretty much kiss this game goodbye.
11:26: And with Doan going to the box for tripping, the Coyotes give up their advantage. It’ll be interesting to see when Gretzky decides to call Bryzgalov (who has been very good tonight as well) to the bench.
11:27: And there goes Bryzgalov.
11:28: Vanek definitely was looking for the empty net that entire shift.
11:29: And there’s the final horn. Sabres walk away with a shut out victory. Great defense (funny because the Sabres were missing Tallinder, Sekera, Numminen and then Spacek) and timely scoring. Oh yeah…and a spectacular penalty kill.
The Sabres need to bounce back from that collapse in Calgary and they did just that. Every point is critical at this point in the season and two tonight put the Sabres within four points of the sixth-place Flyers (who lost to St. Louis tonight).
We’ll have more on this game later (and that other big game tomorrow). Thanks for stopping in.