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Roy leads Sabres past first place Bruins

The saying goes..."A win is a win" but it means a lot more when you break a five game losing streak against the number one team in the conference.  It wasn't a dominating performance but they Sabres did what they needed to do, in order to get the win. 

Like they did last week the Sabres jumped out to the lead against Boston on two first period goals by Derek Roy.  Unlike last week the Sabres kept playing.  Remember last week the Sabres held a two goal lead twice in Boston, before allowing five consecutive goals to Boston in a 7-4 loss. 

Boston did their best to comeback in this game, out-shooting Buffalo 20-11 in the final two periods but they were unable to gain a lead in the game.  The turning point of the game was in the second period.  Boston made the score 2-1 on a goal by Matt Huntwick.  Just 20 seconds later the Bruins went on the power play after a boarding call on Patrick Kaleta (a marginal call at that because the defenseman turned his back).  Instead of the Sabres cracking under the pressure, Jochen Hecht beat Tim Thomas with a slap shot from the top of the face-off circle and the Sabres regained their two goal lead. 

The Bruins did get back within one with plenty of time remaining but the Sabres and Ryan Miller were able to hang on.  The Sabres limited the Bruins scoring chances all night although MSG reported that the scoring chances were 15-15.  The game was in doubt right till the final horn sounded but the Sabres did what they had done all night...blocked a shot with less than five seconds remaining in the game. 

 

It was evident early on that tonight was going to be different than some of the previous games.  The Sabres were out-shot by Boston but they weren't outworked.  In fact I can't remember the last time the Sabres out hit an opponent and blocked more shots.  The phrase "paying the price" is the most over used phrase in all of sports but that is exactly what the Sabres did tonight.

What I liked most about the game tonight (aside from the score of course) was the effort, especially from players who Lindy Ruff has called out publicly.  Max Afinogenov and Henrik Tallinder both sat out the last two games and tonight they responded.  Both players played extremely well in their first game back in the lineup.  Max was dangerous with the puck as usual but tonight he made some safe plays instead of giving the puck away.

The player I was most impressed with tonight was Derek Roy.  Sure he had two gaols which makes him the easy choice but it was hard work that I liked.  Roy had two goals and could have easily had four.  He had one shot that was robbed by Tim Thomas and was reviewed by the Toronto war room.  They ruled it wasn't a goal (which was probably the right call) but it was difficult to see if it did cross the line.  His best chance of the game was a breakaway in the third period but he was hauled down before he got a shot off.  Zdeno Chara slid on the ice and tried to knock the puck away but instead he got the leg of Roy knocking him off balance.  It looked like a possible penalty shot but instead went unpunished.  It was by far, the best performance of the season for Roy.

This will go down as a win against a very good hockey team but only time will tell if they can continue on thsi pace.  The team will remain at home with a game on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Notes

  • Daniel Paille sat out the game with the flu...Lindy doesn't like to change the lineup after a win so Paille will probably be out again next game.
  • Thomas Vanek left the game in the second period but returned to play the third...if he can't go Friday expect Paille to be in the lineup.
  • The Sabres wore their new third jersey tonight...it was the first tim ethey have worn it all season.

Harry Neale Quote of the Game

"During the recent down swing...Lindy Ruff isn't sure if he would rather be a NHL coach or testing bullet proof jackets for the army".