The biggest play of the game really wasn't made by any player on the ice, it was a decision by a referee that changed momentum of the game. At the 5:21 mark of the third period, Jamie McBain appeared to score the Sabres third goal of the night. But, the whistle blew just as the puck went into the net and the Sabres found themselves with the goal wiped off the board and on the penalty kill. Here is the clip of what happened in case you missed it.
The Lightning scored on the ensuing power play and all the momentum the Sabres had just vanished on that call. The league issued a statement on its Situation Room Blog explaining what had happened:
At 5:21 of the third period in the Lightning/Sabres game, the end-zone referee had a Buffalo penalty on delay. The referee did not see Sabres forward Steve Ott touch the puck, which then rebounded to Jamie McBain whose shot entered the net simultaneous with the referee blowing his whistle. The net result was the correct call - no goal, penalty to Buffalo.
In all honesty, that call wasn't the only call that the referees messed up on the night. There were a handful of super quick whistles on delayed penalties and goalie covers. Game referees Paul Devorski and Ian Croft did not have a good night and it happens from time to time. Unfortunately for the Sabres, it seemed to cost them the game.
Power Play Finds Life
The Sabres power play came into the game 0 for 13 and just didn't show any signs of life in terms of progress. Against the Tampa Bay Lightning though, the Sabres power play looked more crisp and put together as they netted two power play goals in a period for the first time since December 26, 2011.
The first power play goal came from Cody Hodgson and the second came from Jamie McBain. The Sabres had four power play opportunities and managed to get seven shots on goal during those.
Cody Hodgson Was Best Player
Cody Hodgson has played a total of 72 games as a Buffalo Sabre and tonight's game may very well have been the best of them all. Sure, he has had a couple of games in which he's scored multiple goals, something he didn't do tonight, but he did register a goal and an assist and was registered a team high six shots on goal. After the game, Cody explained how he felt about the loss. "Yeah, it feels kind of worse actually. Other games it felt like other teams were taking it to us but this game I felt like we had the majority of the chances and took the play to them. It's disheartening that only ended up with one."
Three Stars Of The Night
1. Jamie McBain - 1 goal and 1 assist.
2. Alex Killorn - Game winning goal
3. Jhonas Enroth - 31 saves in losing effort.
Comment Of The Night
Suffering - When Vanek passes the puck to Porter on the odd man rush instead of shooting.