Game 52: Pomin-clutch

Well, it wasn’t a regulation win, but the Sabres can use two points anyway they can get them at this point. Thanks to goals by Brad Boyes and Jason Pominville in the shootout and a couple of nice saves by Miller, Buffalo won the game, 4-3.

 

1st Period: Things didn’t start off well for Buffalo. The game wasn’t even two minutes old yet and the Islanders grabbed an early 1-0 lead. Michael Grabner forced Weber to turn the puck over behind his net and then he dished it off to a wide-open Frans Nielsen in the slot. Gerbe would tie the game up though on a shot that bounced off of Montoya and into the net. Ennis started the play by forcing a turnover at the Islanders’ blueline. From there, Stafford smartly held the puck on the blueline to stay on-side and dished off the Gerbe and the rest is history. Ennis would have a chance of his own just a handful of seconds later, but he couldn’t elevate the backhand shot high enough past an out-of-position Montoya. The Leino-Roy-Pominville line started to look really dangerous after the Sabres tied the game. Each shift of theirs resulted in terrific puck possession along with three quality scoring chances.

New York would go on the power play at the 7:57 mark of the 1st because of Boyes’ high-sticking penalty. Other than some decent possession, the Islanders did nothing with their chance. Gerbe got high-sticked by Nino Neiderreiter just as the penalty to Boyes had expired to give the Sabres their first power play chance. The Islanders were the only team that scored on the Sabres power play though. Right as their power play expired, Josh Bailey put in his own rebound to give his team the lead back, 2-1. Myers let the play get started by not stepping up near his blueline to take out the puck-carrier. Boyes and Pominville did horrible job on the backcheck as well. Frans Nielsen would help give his team an even bigger lead with under three minutes left in the period. Thanks to yet another turnover behind the net, Nielsen was pretty much all alone in front to shoot on Miller. Three Sabres players were caught behind the net on the goal.

The bleeding stopped though and the Sabres went to the dressing room only down by two goals. It had to be a pretty tough pill for the team to swallow, considering they dominated the Islanders for most of the period. Once again, they had trouble finishing and stupid mistakes led to three Islanders goals.

 

2nd Period: The period started off with bang. Matt Martin leveled Leopold near the bench off the face-off and Kaleta challenged him to a fight  (yes, you read that right). The fight consisted of punches that looked like something straight out of sock ’em, rock ’em robots along with plenty of hugging.  The Sabres had a couple of turnovers in prime scoring areas for the other team after that, but Miller some nice saves to keep the deficit at two goals. It didn’t look Buffalo had the same fire and tenacity that they displayed in the 1st period early on. That trend continued until around the 9-minute mark, which marked the first time the Sabres really started skating and generating chances.  Leino in particular had a very good chance in front of Montoya, but could bury it. Buffalo finally got a goal from Roy with just over a minute left in the period to make it a 3-2 game. Roy took a shot from the blueline that found its way through lots of traffic past Montoya. The score would stay that way going into the 3rd. As you can see, I didn’t type as much about this period as the others. The main reason for that was that the Sabres sleepwalked through the 1st half the period and the Islanders were playing a very good defensive game and not really trying to score that much.

 

3rd Period: Roy’s line had a great start to the period, dominating on the cycle and getting some quality shots on Montoya. About five minutes in, Ehrhoff took a shot that deflected into the face of defenseman, Travis Hamonic who immediately started went down and started gushing enough blood to make a donation to the Red Cross. Leopold made a great play to break up what looked like a 2-on-1 chance for the Islanders with around 12 minutes left. The Roy line continued to dominate play when they were out on the ice, but they still couldn’t find the equalizer.

Fortunately, for Buffalo, the Gaustad line was able to tie the game up with just over eight minutes left in the game. After a turnover in their zone, Myers got the puck at the point and got the puck over to Gaustad who beat Montoya to tie the game up, 3-3. Late in the 3rd, Miller who hadn’t been that busy was called upon to make a couple of really great saves. Sekera had a great shift to setup a Weber shot with traffic in front, but Montoya made the save through traffic. During the last 30 seconds, Buffalo was hanging on for dear life. They were running around in their own end and Miller had to make several tough saves to get the game to overtime.

 

Overtime: Stafford and Ennis had a 2-on-1, but the former’s indecision screwed the pooch and cost them a good scoring chance. With about 2:30 left in the OT period, the Sabres took a boneheaded bench minor for too-many-men to give the Islanders a 4-on-3 power play. Thanks to some great shot-blocking and goaltending, the Sabres were able to kill it off and send the game to a shootout.

 

Shootout:  P.A. Parenteau went first and came in full-speed, but missed in his attempt to pick the corner. Brad Boyes led off for Buffalo and beat Montoya short-side with a wrister. Frans Nielsen went next for the Islanders and missed on the high backhand attempt. Pominville would clinch the game for the Sabres, thanks to the quick-release on his shot that went through Montoya’s legs.

 

Time for the quick-hits:

-Despite what the scoreboard might indicate, Ryan Miller was awesome yet again. He made some huge saves to keep his team in the game when the Islanders were knocking at the door. Miller had no chance on any of the goals.

-I would have liked to have seen the Roy line get rewarded more on the scoresheet than they did. They were dangerous all night. Nice to see Roy finally get a goal.

-The Tyler Ennis at center experiment is bearing some good fruit.

-Why is Luke Adam still with Buffalo?

-Mike Weber really has a hard time with the Islanders. Ugly game all around by him.

-Paul Gaustad is worth the cap hit he’s at when he’s playing like this. Keep up the great play please.

-Great work on the PK tonight….the PP, not so much.

-I’m pretty sure this is the first win of the year where the Sabres were down two goals at some point in the game.

 

Game Scoresheet

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