Time is often depreciated in how promptly it ticks by. A season of hockey transpires as if months are really days and minutes are mere seconds. It feels like just yesterday the Buffalo Sabres were beginning their campaign at home against the Montreal Canadiens, with Brian Gionta's stick hitting a puck out of the air for an overtime winner, and Carey Price's goaltending exciting the ardent admirers of Les Habitants.
Not content to settle for a point, Lindy Ruff's team was unlucky as Montreal's limit of ambition appeared to be restricting Buffalo's damage. While the Sabres were the classier side, the bounces were uncooperative and Price was in tip-top shape. One night doesn't put a season's worth of competition in a nutshell.
Buffalo won eight of their ten games left in the month of October and with four matches waiting to be marked off the calendar, can scout potential opponents for the postseason. Stacks of cultivated moments outline this season for the Buffalo Sabres. Which was the best to take in?
By browsing through the schedule, I'll pick out what I believe to be the charismatic juncture from each ten-game duration. Games 70 to 78 will be just an eight-game window obviously. That will give us a total of eight selections to choose from but don't hesitate in speaking about others that were overlooked or under-appreciated.
The determining factor for the teenager's fate came in Tampa Bay, the eighth game of the year. Buffalo would have to send Myers to the AHL afterwards or opt in holding on to him. Drew Stafford banked in an equalizer late in the third period and Myers was called upon in the sixth round of a shootout.
By faking a backhand attempt, stopping smoothly and using his reach for a forehand finish, the rookie utilized Maxim Afinogenov's chief break-away plan that we often saw. Teammates jumped him to celebrate as they all knew he was here to stay.
"I guess the coaches felt something," the 6-foot-8 rookie defenseman said. "I'm happy I backed them up on it."
The 20-year-old leads the defense in almost every major statistical category while keeping his errors minimal. Next up, the Calder Trophy.
Nov.14: Tyler Ennis Nets First Career Goal
Buffalo dropped six games from ten at this point and there was a slight panic. Young Tyler Ennis was inserted into the line-up for the first time in Philadelphia. Tim Kennedy did some excellent work behind the net and fed Ennis who caught Ray Emery off-balance sneaking in his first ever NHL goal.
"You dream of playing in the NHL, and that first goal was just indescribable," Ennis said. "It was really just extreme excitement hopping on the ice for the first time, a pretty awesome feeling."
Tim Connolly, Thomas Vanek and Patrick Kaleta are banged up giving Ennis a shot to make a case for a postseason appearance. With four points in five games since being re-called, there's no hurry for any one of the injured forwards to return. Ottawa is still behind us aren't they?
Dec.9: Washington Capitals Are Shut Down
This match was great because it was a full-on team attack from Buffalo, Nathan Gerbe collected his first career goal from a simple shot on net while adding an assist and Ryan Miller posted a terrific shutout. Washington's daunting offense was kept without a goal for the one time all season as Alexander Ovechkin and company couldn't create much of a tempo.
Miller was there protect the back of the net when there was an opportunity and snared Brendan Morrison with a sprawling glove save late in regulation. While Buffalo did lose three of four overall to the Capitals, being the one club to keep the best offensive group off the score-sheet entirely is a nice consolation and proof that the Sabres can withstand the elite.
Dec.29: Drew Stafford Launches A Comeback
Three goals on 11 shots landed Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead and Miller's evening was over quicker than he would have preferred. Patrick Lalime came in for the second frame and things just started to happen without explanation. Drew Stafford had his best game of the year using his body to battle through checks and picking up the Sabres with two goals.
His patience on Paul Gaustad's equalizer was wondrous and Jason Pominville's powerplay tally made sure that the Penguins would leave with nothing. They followed the same script in their next game against the Atlanta Thrashers but required overtime to finish it off. It's never over till it's over.
Jan.14: Patrick Kaleta Shows What He Can Do
Finding a positive from this stretch was hard as the Sabres were struggling to remain consistent and were about to embark on a problematic Western Conference road trip. Kaleta dressed for the first time in over two weeks and potted himself a well-placed strike under the crossbar.
Atlanta received an Ilya Kovalchuk powerplay marker to tie the match. In overtime, Kaleta drew a penalty from defenseman Zach Bogosian and Derek Roy unleashed a one-timer on the man-advantage to sink the Thrashers. That's the dedication Kaleta can display when he's moving his legs.
Jan.25: Sweet 16 For Tim Connolly
Although Buffalo lost to Vancouver on this night, Connolly extended his points streak to 16 games with an assist in the third period. His healthy state was welcomed all year and the playmaker amassed 25 points in over a month of action. Connolly's majority of points still comes from (primary) assists.
That's not to say that he isn't shooting the puck enough because he's become more of a multi-dimensional player. The former New York Islanders draft pick is hurting the opposition almost as often as they've hurt him with his history of injuries.
Mar.18: Taking Care Of Business Early
Starting slowly became a habit for Buffalo and they weren't planning on letting the Tampa Bay Lightning get the early edge. Captain Craig Rivet fought Todd Fedoruk who checked Chris Butler into the boards after he had sent the puck up the ice and it brought energy to the bench.
Jason Pominville had a hat-trick and the 6-2 final indicated exactly what occurred; domination. Poor Antero Niittymaki was forced to play the whole match.
Mar.27: Patrick Lalime Reaches A Milestone
The late come-from-behind win over Montreal came days before this but doesn't measure up to how special it was for Lalime to at last pick up his 200th career win. He'd lost the last six tries and was clearly growing impatient not knowing when his upcoming opportunity would arise.
Buffalo scored seven times ending it rather early for their netminder. Considering that three of these eight moments came against Tampa Bay, all I have to say is thanks for the memories.