Game 39: Winning a Snoozefest

It’s been awhile, but the Sabres finally got a regulation win tonight agianst the Oilers, 4-3 on home ice. The game itself wasn’t exactly exciting and Buffalo was brutally outplayed at times, but they found a way to win and that’s all I care about at this point.

1st Period: Even though Edmonton just played on the road in Chicago last night, they still had much more jump in their game than Buffalo did through the first five minutes. The speedy Oilers fowards were giving the Sabres defense major fits. Just under the 15-minute mark, Mike Weber accidently tripped the Oilers’ player behind the net going for the puck to give them a power play. No scoring came from it, but Edmonton had a few really good scoring chances. The trio of Vanek-Hecht-Kassian finally got some good offensive zone time for the Sabres with just over ten minutes left in the 1st. Through the halfway point of the period, Buffalo only had two shots on goal. Edmonton would open up the scoring, thanks to a nice shot by one of their young guns, Taylor Hall. It looked like Leopold cheated over to the middle a little bit more on the play because he thought that Gaustad was going to come back on the back-check to take care of Hall, but he didn’t and Hall had plenty of space to take a good shot on Miller who was also out of position on the play. Both teams didn’t do that much in terms of shots for a little while after until around the 5:30 mark. Vanek, Hecht, and Pominville went in on a 3-on-2 and Pominville sniped Khabibulin to tie the game up. The period would end in a 1-1 tie. Buffalo did close the gap a bit in the shots on goal department, putting up eight shots to Edmonton’s fourteen.

2nd Period: Buffalo’s start to this period was almost a mirror image of how they started in the 1st. The Oilers were outworking the Sabres and using their speed to create offensive possession.  The Gerbe-Roy-Stafford line finally did something and helped the Sabres get the lead. Stafford had the puck behind the net and found a pinching Jordan Leopold who picked the corner with a shot to make it 2-1. Right after that, Edmonton thought they had tied the game back up with a point shot, but Ales Hemsky interfered with Miller, wiping out the goal and giving the Sabres a chance on the power play. They looked anemic on the chance though and Kaleta would take what I thought was a bogus charging penalty; he glided into his check.  Buffalo was doing a good job on the penalty kill until about a minute into the Oilers’ power play. The Sabres took a bench minor for too-many-men and about ten seconds later, Edmonton would score on the 5-on-3 chance, courtesy of a point-shot by Jeff Petry that was tipped by Sam Gagner to tie the game, 2-2. The Oilers still had the power play after the goal, but fortunately, they didn’t score. The Oilers had a really good chance to take the lead later when Jordan Eberle undressed every Sabres defender on the ice, but he couldn’t convert. The tie would stand up through the rest of the period. Buffalo outshot Edmonton 12-5 in the 2nd, but the scoring chances were even at 3-3.

3rd Period: The Sabres were actually competing in the beginning of this period, trading rushes with the Oilers through the first three minutes. Brad Boyes had a chance at an open net to shoot at on a rebound, but the puck was rolling and he had a checker draped over him, so he couldn’t put it on goal. Him and his other two linemates, Kassian and Adam were still generating plenty of chances though and single-handedly turning the momentum towards the Sabres’ favor. The two teams continued to play each other evenly and at around the nine-minute mark, Gerbe got rode like a horse by Theo Peckham and drew a penalty to give the Sabres their second power play of the night. Outside of a couple of one-timers, their power play was lacking in shots and scoring chances. Buffalo would take the lead though with just over six-minutes left in the game. Gerbe, Roy, and Stafford were in on this goal and got some traffic in front of Khabibulin. Stafford would score on a busted play in front of the net to make it 3-2. A couple of minutes later, Nathan Gerbe busted into the zone off the wrong and had all sorts of space to bury a backhand shot by Khabibulin to give the Sabres a 4-2 lead. However, the Oilers would cut the lead to 4-3. Three Sabres players were chasing the puck down low and the puck made it over to Corey Potter who shot the puck off the post by Miller. That’s as close as the Oilers would get though and the Sabres escaped with two points.

Here are tonight’s quick-hits:

-Nice to see the Sabres finally get some secondary scoring. Good job by Gerbe, Roy, and Stafford tonight.

-McNabb and Brennan had strong games on defense.

-It looks like Leopold’s in a bit of scoring groove. His accuracy on his shots has been great.

-Not sure why Lindy changed the lines up early on. That was definitely part of the reason for their struggles early on.

-Miller got better as the game went on, but he was a little shaky early. He’s got to find a way to stop giving up 3+ goals a game. No team can consistently win games that way.

-Whoever was calculating the hit totals was generous for both teams. I find it hard to believe that there were 39 hits in this game.

Time

1st Period Scoring

EDMONTON

BUFFALO

10:33

T.Hall (12)
Assists: A.Hemsky, S.Gagner

1

0

14:23

J.Pominville (13) 
Assists: J.Hecht, B.McNabb

1

1

Time

Penalties

5:26

M.Weber: 2:00 for Tripping J.Eberle

Time

2nd Period Scoring

EDMONTON

BUFFALO

5:10

J.Leopold (7) 
Assists: D.Stafford, B.McNabb

1

2

9:24

S.Gagner (5) (PP) 
Assists: J.Petry, A.Hemsky

2

2

Time

Penalties

5:34

A.Hemsky: 2:00 for Goaltender Intereference

8:04

P.Kaleta: 2:00 for Charging L.Smid

9:10

2:00 Bench Minor for Too-Many-Men (Served by N.Gerbe)

Time

3rd Period Scoring

EDMONTON

BUFFALO

14:34

D.Stafford (7) 
Assists: N.Gerbe, D.Roy

2

3

16:38

N.Gerbe (4) 
Assist: D.Stafford

2

4

18:10

C.Potter (3) 
Assists: J.Eberle, A.Lander

3

4

Time

Penalties

10:54

T.Peckham: 2:00 for Holding N.Gerbe

Team Stats

Hits

Giveaways

Takeaways

Faceoffs Won

PIM

Buffalo

23

7

3

25

6

Edmonton

16

11

9

20

4

Shots On Goal

1

2

3

Total

Buffalo

8

12

13

33

Edmonton

14

5

7

26


Game Scoresheet

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