Game 13: Road Warriors

Buffalo played in their first overtime and shootout this season tonight and they came out on top in Ottawa, beating the Sens 3-2 in the shootout. The win gave Buffalo a 5-1-0 road record and put them within three points of the Leafs who got blasted by the Bruins tonight, 7-0.

1st Period: I thought this was a pretty boring, even period outside of the scoreboard. Both teams were clogging up the neutral-zone and limiting offensive chances. Buffalo had a strong start in the first few minutes of the game. Not much happened until the later stages of the third where Derek Roy was forced to take a tripping penalty on a 2-0n-1 short-handed rush for Ottawa, which made it 4-0n-4. During that time, Milan Michalek weaved through Sabres players and tucked a backhand shot by Enroth to make it 1-0. Tyler Myers had a chance to stop him, but he was more focused on the puck than he was on the man and he got burned. It would have been nice to have seen him step up and separate the man from the puck there. That would be the only goal scored during the period, so we had a 1-0 score in favor Ottawa going into period #2.

2nd Period: To say that the Sabres played this period loosely would be an understatement. Ottawa was given plenty of odd-man rushes and a couple of breakaways, thanks to some lax play on defense. Buffalo did score a couple of goals though. The first one was caused by a good cycle by the Leino-Roy-Stafford line. The puck eventually made its way to Leino’s stick and he smartly shot the puck towards Roy who deflected the puck into the net. Sabres goal #2 was pretty much the Nathan Gerbe show. After being on the wrong end of a hard-check, Gerbe persisted and finished off said checker, Stephane DaCosta, took the puck and got it to the front of the net where Leopold finished the scoring play off. The loose defensive play that I mentioned earlier did eventually cost the Sabres a goal. Ehrhoff went on an ill-advised change and Sekera and Leino were both unaware of the situation, which allowed Erik Condra to go in on Enroth all alone to tie the game and that’s how the game would stay going into the third.

3rd Period: Buffalo tightened up things a bit, but this was still a wide-open period. The difference here was that Buffalo was pushing the pace, not Ottawa. They had several good scoring chances being created by all four lines. On defense, Myers and Gragnani looked lost while the other four defensemen were solid. Regehr in particular was hitting every thing that moved in the third. Corey Tropp also tried fighting Chris Neil who apparently wanted no part of a fight and skated away, even after Tropp dropped the gloves. Enroth also made some nice saves early on.  There was no change in score, so the teams had to play some overtime hockey.

OT: Pretty ho-hum period. Vanek had some nice chances and took a vicious shot in the face from Gonchar’s stick that went uncalled. No score here, so they went to a shoot-out.

Shootout: Milan Michalek opened up the scoring to give the Sens the lead, but Vanek responded with a goal over his own. Spezza followed Michalek’s foot-steps and beat Enroth five-hole to give Ottawa the lead 2-1. Brad Boyes then proceeded to roof a shot over Anderson to tie things up. Both Karlsson and Gerbe missed to send the shootout to sudden-death. Foligno got stoned on his first attempt and Pominville did everything but score on his attempt, beating the goalie and catching the post. In the next round, Enroth made a nice kick-save on Daugavins, while Stafford tried beating Anderson five-hole and failed. Derek Roy would win the shoot-out with a high-shot over Anderson’s glove after Enroth made a good glove save on Bobby Butler.

Onto the quick hits:

-Kevin Sylvester is a terrible play-by-play announcer. Everytime he got excited about a play, his voice went into this fast, high-pitched growl that you really couldn’t understand. Conversely, the Sabres may have found their heir apparent to the color commentator position. Danny Gare did a great job.

-Tyler Myers was awful. Horrible positioning all night long that allowed the Sens to generate a goal along with a few other good scoring chances for Ottawa. He looked flat-out stupid on Michalek’s goal.

-Gragnani continued to do nothing to warrant playing over Weber. How do you play 12 games without registering one single hit?

-Enroth looked a little shaky, but he got the job done. You’ve got to go back to Miller for the Winnipeg game though.

-Sekera is the straw the stirs the drink offensively when he’s out on the ice. He did a very good job setting the table on offense during his shifts. Rej has been a revelation so far this season.

-Leino-Roy-Stafford was a force again. All three played very well and Roy got his customary goal that he seems to always get when he plays in front of his hometown.

-Ehrhoff had a good game outside of a godawful change that gave the Sens a goal. Thankfully, it didn’t end up costing the team two points in this game.

-Regehr was Buffalo’s best defenseman tonight, hitting anything in a Sens uniform and limiting their chances in the Sabres’ end of the ice.

-Brad Boyes has given the Gaustad line more offensive-bite without losing anything defensively or on the cycle. I don’t want Kaleta back with Gerbe and Gaustad when he gets back. Stick him with Ellis and McCormick.

-There were a few high-sticking calls that went uncalled in this game. It seems to be a fairly common theme with Sabres games this season. The refs need to pay a lot more attention during games.

-After having such a good power play yesterday, Buffalo really crapped the bed tonight. The only really quality scoring chances they created were for the other team. At least the PK still continued to be an unstoppable force against a potent PP like Ottawa’s.

Scoring Summary:

Buffalo- Roy (Leino, Sekera), Leopold (Gerbe, Gaustad), Vanek (Shootout), Boyes (Shootout), Roy (Shootout)

Ottawa- Michalek (Phillips, Anderson), Condra (Smith), Michalek (Shootout), Spezza (Shootout)

Power Play:

Buffalo- 0-for-2

Ottawa- 0-for-2

Scoring Per Period

1

2

3

OT

Buffalo

0

2

0

0

Ottawa

1

1

0

0

Shots On Goal

1

2

3

OT

Total

Buffalo

6

15

10

2

33

Ottawa

7

16

3

1

27

Team Stats

Hits

Giveaways

Takeaways

Faceoffs Won

PIM

Buffalo

19

9

13

24

4

Ottawa

23

6

22

35

4

Game Scoresheet

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