The Sabres needed to make a statement tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning and they did it emphatically with a 7-1 victory. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Sabres and they continue to be in third place, one point behind the Penguins and the Devils.
The Sabres wasted no time getting things started in this game. They went ahead early when Paul Gaustad tipped a shot from Craig Rivet by Antero Nittymaki. The Sabres were happy to get the early lead but the play of the game was a five minute major and a game misconduct to Vinny Lecavalier for spearing Tim Kennedy.
Buffalo had a similar opportunity on Friday against Ottawa when Mike Fisher was given a game for boarding, but they failed to convert with the man advantage. This time they were determined and scored not once but twice and sent Nittymaki to the bench for the rest of the evening.
This was a game when everything went right for Buffalo. Derek Roy scored three times to become the second Sabres player this season to score a hat trick. The usually pitiful power play was unstoppable tonight. The only reason the Sabres weren't perfect with the man advantage was because of the major penalty on Lecavalier.
Because of the rules of a major it is impossible to be perfect. Every time a team scores, it becomes a brand new power play. The Sabres scored twice on the major and finished that particular power play sequence 2-for-3. They added another power play goal later in the game and finished 3-for-4 on the night and another goal came on a delayed penalty.
- Before the season started we ran a poll here at Die by the Blade asking people "if the Buffalo Sabres would make the playoffs". The majority thought they would and the majority turned out to be right.
- The players in the locker room said all the right things after the game. They commented on the last eight games and promised the team would play hard every night in an effort to possibly earn the number two seed in the Eastern Conference.
- I was looking through the stats from the game and noticed that Drew Stafford was the only Sabres forward that did not register a point.
- Tyler Ennis looked good in his second NHL game. He had two assists and could have probably had four if they buried all their opportunities.
- Ennis was called up because Kaleta nd Connolly are both on the shelf and could be for quite some time. The Sabres got more bad news tonight when Thomas Vanek left the game and Lindy Ruff stated it could be somewhat lengthy recovery process for TV. Should he Sabres go with an entire line of Pirates players? Maybe call up Mancari and Gerbe.
- It was great to see Patty Lalime get his 200th career win in his NHL career.
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
Harry Neale - "He must be upset, hitting a Molson Canadian sign"