Game 58: Basement Dwellers

I guess the loss of Hal Gill didn’t affect Montreal’s morale that much. They came out, played a solid game, and got the extra point in the shootout in a 4-3 win. Buffalo has now lost four straight games and should be 100% committed to being a seller now.

 

1st Period: Both teams looked a little slow coming out of the gate. The surprising line combination of Ellis-Ennis-Vanek had a couple of good scoring chances about 2:30 into the period. Speaking of unlikely things, Robyn Regehr opened up the scoring just under five minutes into the first. He took a slapshot from the point that appeared to go off a Montreal defender’s equipment. Vanek would get the game’s first penalty near the halfway point of period #1. It was a pretty soft call to say the least. Lindy benched him for the remainder of the period after that penalty.

Montreal would tie the game up just as their chance expired. Kaberle snuck in from the point and took the backdoor pass from David Desharnais for the easy goal. Sekera did a half-baked job of taking away the passing lane during the goal. In fact, the whole PK unit got suckered over towards the right to make it easier for such a play to happen. A few minutes later, Roy would make a strong push towards the front of the net. He never got a shot off, but it generated traffic in front of Carey Price to allow Myers to come off the bench and shoot the puck through a bunch of bodies for a 2-1 Sabres lead. Shortly after that, Gerbe would take an extremely undisciplined penalty near center ice and hooked his man down to give the Habs another chance to tie game up on the power play. Once again, the Canadiens would take advantage of their opportunity. Scott Gomez took a slapshot from the top of the circle that deflected off of Regehr’s skate and past Miller to tie the game, 2-2. Yes you read that last sentence right. That’s how the score would remain going into the 2nd.

 

2nd Period: After some good pressure by his line, Leino got tackled by Yannick Weber near the corner to give the Sabres another power play around the 17:30 mark of the period. Buffalo got some good pressure, but they couldn’t score. A lot of back-and-forth play took place between the two teams with not much happening for a long time until the 8:26 mark where Campoli broke the 2-2 tie with a screen shot from the point. That came on the heels of Zack Kassian inexplicably doing nothing on a 3-on-1 chance for Buffalo. The only other notable play to happen in the period was a great individual effort by Sekera to setup Regehr with a great scoring chance. He couldn’t finish it though, so it remained a 3-2 game.

 

3rd Period: Mike Weber took a shot from the point to give Buffalo a good scoring chance with traffic in front of Price about three minutes in.  That was the last real scoring chance for the Sabres for awhile. Montreal seemed to be content just hanging back and playing defense. Scott Gomez took a penalty with 12:55 remaining in the game. They couldn’t tie the game up and barely generated much on offense. Myers made a nice play to break up a 3-on-1 after the Gomez penalty had just expired.  Leopold fed a puck in front of the net with just under nine minutes to go for a nice scoring chance, but no one could get good enough wood to put it in. Ennis would tie the game shortly afterwards after he got the puck from Leino in the slot and shot it past Price.Vanek and Pominville each generated a couple more scoring chances as the period went on, but to no avail. This game would head to overtime.

 

Overtime:  Ehrhoff had a glorious chance to end the game, but he couldn’t get a good enough handle on the puck. Myers demolished Rene Bourque in the corner of the Sabres’ end of the ice. Mike Weber got tripped up in the Habs’ end of the ice by Max Pacioretty to give Buffalo a 4-on-3 power play with 58.9 seconds remaining in the overtime period. Vanek and Pominville each had a couple of great shot attempts, but couldn’t cash in. Overall, the Sabres looked a little anxious and didn’t take their time setting up the power play. There were no goals scored by either team, so the game went to a shootout.

 

Shootout: Boyes led things off and tried to beat Price up high on the glove-side, but couldn’t elevate it enough. Pacioretty went next and it looked like Miller stopped it, but it trickled in through Miller. Pominville got stoned by Price and then Desharnais went backhand-forehand and slid it past Miller to give the Habs the extra point.

 

Quick-hits:

-Best overall game Myers has had in awhile. Nice poise in both ends of the ice.

-Nice job by Sekera to rebound after the shoddy positioning on the first goal. Tremendous effort.

-Didn’t like Lindy trying to send messages this late in the season by having Ellis play with Ennis and Vanek while Stafford started off on the 4th line. The benching of Vanek for the rest of the first was also pretty bad. Newsflash: the time to do this stuff was weeks ago.

-The penalty kill couldn’t seal the deal and kill off the last bit of either penalty.

-With the Canes winning and Buffalo only getting a point, this team is officially in the basement of the Eastern Conference.

-As if that wasn’t enough, I think Scott Gomez scoring a goal on you is enough evidence that your team isn’t any good.

 

Game Scoresheet

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