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Habs beat Sabres

The Sabres second road game of the season looked eerily similar to the first.  The Sabres looked bad in a game the night before, played better, blew a lead in the third period and eventually lost.  This time it was a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.  The Sabres once again came out flat but seemed to regroup and actually took the lead before folding.

The Habs struck first with an early power play goal by Bryan Smolinski.  The Smolinksi goal was the only goal scored in the first period even though Montreal had numerous chances.  Ryan Miller was spectacular stopping 11 of 12 shots in the first frame and he kept the Sabres in the game early.  It took until the second period but Buffalo tied the game on a power play goal by Paul Gaustad.  Gaustad received a pass from Tim Connolly and deflected it in while falling to the ice.  It was just nine seconds later that Thomas Vanek fed a pass in front to Derek Roy and Roy beat Habs goalie Cristobal Huet to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead.  The goal was the fifth of the season for Roy which leads the team.

The Canadiens tied the game later in the second period and they went ahead on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period.  Habs defenseman Roman Hamrlik took a shot from the point that was wide of the net, it caromed off the glass and hit the skate of Toni Lydman before  deflecting off of Miller and into the net.  Christopher Higgins added an empty net goal to seal the victory.

The Sabres will next travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes on Wednesday at 7 PM.  The Hurricanes are off to a great start and are currently 4-1-3 with 11 points, good for first place in the Southeast division.  I'll have more on this game on Wednesday.

Pluses:

  • Both Sabres goals were pretty goals and the result of hard work
  • The team never gave up and had some good chances to tie the game late
  • Thomas Vanek seemed to turn a corner and had one of his better games this season
  • Ryan Miller was outstanding in the first period...without Miller the score could have easily been 3-0 after one period
  • Brian Campbell got his ninth assist of the season in only seven games played

Minuses:

  • back-to-back losses for the second time this season
  • The play of Henrik Tallinder, he looks slow and out of place...you have to wonder if he has an injury that is not being talked about
  • The defensemen consistently getting beat to loose pucks in the defensive zone
  • The officiating...the roughing call on Max Afinogenov...the high sticking call on Drew Stafford...the numerous missed calls
  • The MSG coverage that kept flickering throughout the game and to a lesser extent the camera angles(which MSG has no control over)