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Another Comeback for Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres improved to .500 on the season with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.  After 10 games the Sabres sit at 5-5 with 10 points and last year they were 10-0 with 20 points.  It seems like a big difference but who didn't expect this team to experience some growing pains.  It wasn't 10 points that separated this team from missing the playoffs last season so there should be no panic.  The team has not been spectacular but they have grown as a unit on this road trip.

The win was not pretty but it was another victory on the road.  A victory against a team that had not lost at home this season, Tampa was a perfect 5-0 at home coming into this game.  Many of the wins last year were not pretty, we all remember the games they won by five or six goals but we forget that there were a lot of games they were lucky to win and there were many.

The victory Saturday night was not unlike every other game played this season in that we seen some positives and some negatives.  The teams were scoreless after one period of play but the Lightning went ahead 2-0 less than five minutes into the second period.  It looked bleak at that time with Tampa Bay controlling the game but Maxim Afinogenov managed to get the Sabres on the board about halfway through the period.  The goal sparked the Sabres who seemed to play better and Paul Gaustad scored a power play goal to tie the game 2-2.

The teams were knotted at two entering the third period but Tampa Bay took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to take a 3-2 lead.  Ales Kotalik was in the box for cross-checking and Toni Lydman was in for interference when Vincent Lecavalier fired a shot off the post and into the net behind Ryan Miller.  Nathan Paetsch answered back for Buffalo with under seven minutes left in the third period.  Paul Gaustad was charged with hooking with under four minutes left in the period and the Sabres were able to kill it off and go to overtime.

The Sabres got off to a fast start in overtime but Tampa quickly took over.  The Lightning were swarming the Buffalo net but Ryan Miller was up to the task and Thomas Vanek and Nathan Paetsch went on a two-on-one break and Vanek tried passing across it hit the defender at went into the net behind Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist for a 4-3 Buffalo victory.

The Sabres will complete their five game road trip on Thursday night in Boston against the Bruins.  The gametime is 7 PM EST and can be seen on MSG.

Pluses:

  • Another come from behind victory on the road
  • Thomas Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov both played much better and scored goals
  • Another power play goal, they were 1-for-3 on the power play
  • Big penalty kill in the last four minutes of the third period
  • Huge save by Ryan Miller just seconds after the Lightning went ahead 3-2 on a 5-on-3 advantage
  • Sabres blocked 19 shots in the game
  • actually seen some physical play, namely Adam Mair and to a lesser extent Kotalik and Hecht

Minuses:

  • Falling behind 2-0 in the second period
  • Out shot 21-12 through two periods of play
  • Peters getting his #%& wooped in the first period
  • Sabres were dominated by Tampa at the faceoff dot
  • although playing better big hank was caught standing around on the first Tampa Bay goal