Game 28: A Win Is A Win

If you were introducing someone to hockey for the first time tonight, chances are they would have been turned off forever by this game. It was an extremely low-chance, low-scoring affair between the Panthers and the Sabres, which saw  Buffalo emerge victorious, 2-1 in overtime.

 

1st Period: Things started pretty well for Buffalo. Ennis-Roy-Stafford had a great shift during the team’s 2nd shift and then the Sabres were fortunate enough to get a power play because of a too-many-men penalty by the Panthers. The whole sequence was godawful though. They had no chances and Gragnani gave the puck away to give Weiss a short-handed opportunity that he fortunately cranked off the pipe. The Roy line had another decent scoring chance inside the 14-minute mark, but McNabb got a bogus goaltender interference penalty trying to dive and poke the puck past Clemmensen. The Panthers moved the puck fairly well on their power play chance, but they didn’t really generate any scoring chances.

After a few minutes of evenly played 5-0n-5 action, Dadonov took a hooking penalty halfway through the period to give the Sabres another power play chance. The movement was much better this time and they had a couple scoring chances. None of them went in though. Kuilikov had the hit of the period when he blew up Corey Tropp near the Florida blueline.; he wouldn’t return to the game due to an upper-body injury. Buffalo would get yet another power play chance because of Tim Kennedy high-sticking McNabb. They had a complete regression though and generated no chances and very little zone time. Almost right after that, the Panthers got possession of the puck in the Sabres zone and McNabb’s stick blew up. That didn’t stop him from winning a battle and kicking the puck up to the blueline to Ennis who won a battle. From there, Stafford hit a streaking Roy who capitalized on the breakaway chance to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. That lead would stand up for the 2:10 that was remaining in the period. Despite all of the power play chances, the shot total was only 7-to-5 in favor of the Sabres and there were even fewer scoring chances. In a lot of ways, it was reminiscent of a lot of their road games.

 

2nd Period: It was more of the same for both teams for the first few minutes of the period; very few shots and scoring chances. Hecht made a great play to set Ellis up with a point-blank chance, but this is Matt Ellis we’re talking about. He’s far from being a goal-scorer. A couple of minutes later, Marco Sturm hooked Roy down to the ice to give Buffalo another chance on the power play. Some decent possession and a couple of shots took place, but no really good scoring chances. Their best chance actually came right after the power play ended. The Sabres had a 3-on-1 that they botched because of Adam overskating the puck. Buffalo actually kept Florida shot-less from about the 13:30-mark all the way to around the 4:30 mark. Obviously, the Sabres were doing a great job at stifling the Panthers’ offense. Ehrhoff took a cross-checking penalty in front of Miller after Florida got that shot on goal. 10 seconds into the power play, Hecht got called for holding which gave Florida almost a full 5-on-3. The puck made it’s way to Garrison at the top of the circle and he sniped a one-timer past Miller to tie the game. I’d like to point out that both penalties were weak calls, especially Hecht’s call. The Panthers seemingly gained some momentum from that goal and dominated the last two minutes and change, but they wouldn’t score, so we had a 1-1 tie through two periods.

 

3rd Period: Literally, nothing happened through the first seven minutes of the period.  Vanek took a high-sticking penalty around the 13-minute mark. The Panthers were buzzing and had a couple of good scoring chances, but the Miller and the rest of the PKers were up to the task of stopping them.  At the end of the power play, there were only four shots combined in the period so far: Florida had three, Buffalo had one. Roy, Vanek, and Stafford started playing on a line together around the 9:30 mark. Hecht left the ice about a couple minutes later after blocking a shot. Tomas Kopecky hooked Christian Ehrhoff about a minute after that to give Buffalo their 5th power play chance. There was a small flurry of chances in the dying minutes of the game, but no one scored and there was overtime at the First Niagara Center.

 

Overtime: The Panthers actually carried the play for most of the period, but the Sabres would be the ultimate victors. Jordan Leopold made great play in the corner of the Sabres’ end to get the puck to Szczechura who hit Pominville with a breakaway pass. The Sabres’ captain proceed to beat Clemmensen with a quick move on the shortside to give Buffalo the win.

 

Quick-hit time.

-Ideally, I want my favorite teams to entertain me and win, but at the end of the day, I don’t care how the Sabres win games. Bore me to tears for all I care if that’s what it takes.

-There was one point in the game where during a 36-minute stretch of play, the Sabres only had three shots on goal. All I have to say is, thank God the Panthers were doing nothing on offense too.

-Roy’s line was much better as a whole tonight. In fact, they were probably the best line on the ice for Buffalo.

-Hecht and Tropp are out with injuries now. Did the Sabres release some sort of curse when they got rid of the injury-riddled Tim Connolly?

-McNabb and Ehrhoff both had strong games after playing terrible games the other night.

-Pretty solid return to the team by Leopold. He was quietly effective and played a key role in the Sabres GWG.

-Adam and Kassian missed Leino tonight.

-Ryan Miller had a quiet night in goal, but he made saves when he had to. Not going to fault the guy for a 5-on-3 snipe-show.

 

Scoring Per Period

1

2

3

OT

Total

Buffalo

1

0

0

1

2

Florida

0

1

0

0

1

 

Shots On Goal

1

2

3

OT

Total

Buffalo

7

6

3

4

20

Florida

5

10

6

2

23

 

Team Stats

Hits

Giveaways

Takeaways

Faceoffs Won

PIM

Buffalo

21

10

5

24

8

Florida

15

8

6

25

10

 

Scoring Summary:

Buffalo- Roy (Stafford, Ennis), Pominville (Szczechura, Leopold)

Florida- Garrison PP (Fleischmann, Versteeg)

 

Power Play:

Buffalo: 0-for-5

Florida: 1-for-4

 

Game Scoresheet

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