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Fourth time is a Charm

It took four tries before the Buffalo Sabres finally figured out how to beat the New jersey Devils in a shootout but Wednesday they finally did it.  It wasn’t just the outcome that was exciting, usually when the Devils and Sabres meet the game reeks of boredom but this one was different.  It was a fairly entertaining game that was full of good scoring chances.  The Sabres had the early chances and the Devils had the late chances.  It took fluke goals by both teams to get goals by the goal tenders in this game.  The Sabres eventually won 3-2 in a shootout.

The Sabres were first on the scoreboard just 2:30 into the first period on a goal by Michael Ryan.  The Sabres took a two goal lead in the second period on a somewhat conrtroversial goal by Jason Pominville.  The puck deflected off of Pommers skate and into the net, it was the second consecutive game that the Sabres scored a goal off of a skate.  The Devils cut the Sabres lead in half at the 15:25 mark of the second period.  The goal came directly after the Devils killed off a Sabres power play that came after David Clarkson took an undisciplined penalty for hitting Patrick Kaleta after Kaleta had hit a New Jersey player.  The Devils poured on the pressure in the third period but Ryan Miller was outstanding and allowed the Sabres to eventually win in the shootout.

The Sabres shootout struggles have been well documented this season, especially by this site, but Wednesday was different.  Lindy Ruff decided to shake things up and used Drew Stafford and Henrik Tallinder, yep I said Henrik Tallinder, and both guys scored to earn Buffalo the victory.  The move by Tallinder was one of the best I have seen and came against one of the leagues best goaltenders.  I guess they finally found a use for Tallinder this season.

The Sabres will try to continue their climb in the standings on Friday when they take on the Boston Bruins for the second time this week.  The Sabres beat the Bruins 4-2 on Tuesday in Boston, this game will be played in Buffalo.

Some observations of the game...

  • I haven't been the biggest supporter of Patrick Kaleta, but I may be changing my tune just a little.  I still think Kaleta would be better served by spending a little more time in Rochester but I think that at this time he may make the team better.  Patrick Kaleta adds a little bit more to the team that Petey doeswn't bring to the table.  I would love to see Kaleta stay in the lineup instead of playing Petey.  Kaleta still has a tendency of going out of his way to make a hit, effectively taking himself out of the play, but he has a knack for getting under the skin of the opposition.
  • It was another quick start for the Sabres and it allowed them to hang on and eventually win in a shootout.  The Sabres need to continue to get ahead of the opponent because I think they play better with the lead.  I agree that is an obvious statement but last year they could come back when they were trailing fairly easily.
  • The power play was not very good on Wednesday and has been very inconsistent all season.
  • Lindy Ruff proved once again why he is an outstanding coach.  As much as I hate the shootout it is a part of the game and Lindy Ruff played it perfectly on Wednesday night.