It's anyone's guess what will happen next with this team but tonight could be considered a statement by the Buffalo Sabres. They not only went into Pittsburgh and beat them 4-3 but they battled back from a two goal deficit to do it. It looks like the message that Lindy Ruff has been trying to send them is really getting through. This was a team that had lost eight of their last 11 games and was trailing the defending Eastern Conference Champions by two goals. Instead of folding their tent like we had seen in the past, they pressed on and won the game 4-3.
Ruslan Fedetenko scored twice in the first period to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead after the first period. Fedetenko scored the goals but both plays were made by Evgeni Malkin with his creative passing.
Buffalo started to get into penalty trouble late in the first period, starting a run on 5-on-3 opportunities for the Penguins. Buffalo killed off part of the first 5-on-3 but with Vanek still in the box, Jochen Hecht took a tripping penalty just 19 seconds into the second. Chris Letang made the Sabres pay with his first goal of the season giving Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead.
The Sabres narrowed the gap to 3-2 on a goal by Ales Kotalik but half way through the second period came the turning point. Thomas Vanek was called for interference in front of the Pittsburgh net and someone from the Sabres bench was called for abuse of officials giving Pittsburgh their third 5-on-3 advantage. Instead of Pittsburgh scoring on the 5-on-3 the Sabres killed it with great goaltending from Ryan Miller. Remember a couple of days ago when I asked the last time Ryan Miller won the team a game? It may have happened tonight.
Miller was absolutely outstanding tonight, making plenty of magnificent saves. He did receive some help from his defensemen but he deserves a to of credit. One of the unsung heros in this game was Andrej Sekera. He teamed with Toni Lydman to shut down the Penguins power play. Sekera led all Sabres with over 25 minutes of ice time including almost eight minutes with the Sabres short handed. In all the Penguins were just 1-for-8 on the power play, including three 5-on-3 opportunities.
There were so may reasons the Sabres came out victirious in this game. The goaltending, the penalty killing and the balanced scoring. Buffalo received goals from all four lines with 10 different forwards getting points. The only two Forwards that didn't get points tonight were Nathan Gerbe and Drew Stafford. Of course Stafford has been good lately and had some opportunities tonight as well.
It's still only two points and this team still has a lot of work to do. They put themselves behind the eight ball with their recent struggles but tonight was step in the right direction. Buffalo has won only four times in their last 12 games and this is the second time they beat Pittsburgh in that time frame.
Die by the Blade Three Stars
I realized tonight that only goal scorers and goalies get named the stars of the game but we are going to try something different here. Any time the Sabres win, we will do our own three stars of the game and tonight is game deserving of three stars. With all due respect to the opponent, the stars will be only Buffalo Sabres.
- Ryan Miller
- Andrej Sekera
- Thomas Vanek
Feel free to comment on guys that you feel should have been included in the three stars.
It was a really good game thread tonight and picked up even more after the game ended. Thanks to everyone who participated and don't be afraid to join us for the whole game on Wednesday. There was a total of eight people that participated in the thread paced by FrankD from Pensburgh.com. The other users that particiapted were...
dfderie, beerjanglin, Fucilli5, qdloser, RobQ and ccthemovieman
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
Unfortunately I didn't listen to the radio coverage of the game and it was televised on Versus. If anyone listened to the broadcast and wants to add a quote please do. If not we'll try again on Wednesday to find another Harry Neale one-liner.