It took 40 minutes of hockey and a two goal deficit to make the Sabres play but they roared back before falling in a shootout. It's never good to leave a point on the table against one of the worst teams in the league but they were lucky to get that.
When you are in a playoff race, every point matters. Ottawa had a 2-0 lead and seemed to be in complete control after two periods. Ottawa fired 30 shots on Miller through 40 minutes and held a 2-0 lead. Nobody in their right mind, thought the Sabres would have a chance to win the game and yet it came down to the eighth shooter in the shootout before the game was decided.
Miller Time Again
We have come to expect Miller to be a story of the game and tonight was no different. Miller made 28 saves through two periods and a total of 40 saves in the game. Much like last night, the Sabres would have earned no points if Miller was not spectacular.
We have seen Miller be good in the past but I'm not sure we have ever seen a stretch like we have recently. Miller has been outstanding since the beginning of 2009 and is as confident as I have ever seen him.
I hate to rain on the Miller parade but I have to mention the negatives as well. As good as Miller was in the game, he was equally as bad in the shootout. In fairness to Miller, the Sens put a couple of nice moves on him but we have seen Miller make better saves before.
It was pretty clear that this team was extremely tired. They just came back from a long Western Conference road trip and played three games in four nights. For 40 minutes they looked effortless but through the third period and overtime, they looked slow and tired. It looked like they were skating but they weren't really moving anywhere...at least not fast.
To make matters worse...they played most of the game without Thomas Vanek and at least half the game without Mike Weber. Vanek took a puck to the face in the first period and was never able to return and Weber suffered an injury as well. Paetsch had been playing forward but moved back to defense and that left the Sabres with only 10 healthy forwrads. It was basically nine because Kaleta didn't play much in the later stages of the game.
Power Play Converts
Last night I mentioned the Sabres power play struggles and tonight they responded. They were awarded only one power play all night and they made it count. Drew Stafford scored on the power play to tie the score 2-2 for the Sabres.
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
My apologies that I did not hear the exact quote but even paraphrasing...it's still funny. Edited with the help of ccthemovieman
Most players sharpen their skates before the game, Jarkko Ruutu sharpens his teeth.
This was obviously in reference to the incident when Ruutu bit the hand of Sabres tough guy Andrew Peters.
Thanks to everyone that contributed to game thread tonight. We set a new Die by the Blade record with a total of 222 comments. It was J2 leading the way with 88 comments by himself.
Roll Call: dfderie, D.O., ccthemovieman, BenAllen, qdloser, J2
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Buffalo will get a much needed rest. The next time they take the ice will be Wednesday night at the HSBC Arena against the Ottawa Senators. They probably don't need much motivation against Ottawa but with some fresh legs...I expect a much different game.