Earlier in the day, Darcy Regier made the team aware that he thought they could make a run for the playoffs. Tonight the team showed that they believe they can make the playoffs. When you are in 10th place and three points out eighth with only 19 games remaining, every single game is huge. It's even bigger when you play against a team that you are chasing in the standings.
It was a strange start to the game. The Sabres came out flying but a terrible interfernce call on Paul Gaustad gave the Canadiens an early power play and the momentum. Montreal had three first period power plays and put 18 shots on goal but Patrick Lalime was sharp in net. The Sabres capitalized on their only first period power play and that was enough for them to seize the momentum back from Montreal.
Derek Roy scored the first goal on the power play and he scored the second goal of the game on a perfect pass from Daniel Paille. That was all the confidence the Sabres needed and they dominated from that point on. Jaro Spacek scored the third goal on great move and a blistering shot that beat Price.
There wasn't much of a doubt that the Sabres would go on to win the game but Paul Gaustad wanted to make sure and added a power play goal and a shorthanded goal. Montreal finally broke the shutout with just over a minute left but it doesn't erase the performance of Patrick Lalime.
Lalime Earns Victory
Patrick Lalime had not earned a victory since December 13 but he was just as important as anyone else tonight. Lalime was the reason the Sabres stayed in the game early and the team rewarded his efforts by scoring some goals in front of him.
Lalime has been really good lately and has proven that he can handle the load while Ryan Miller is nursing his ankle injury. Many fans (myself included) were questioning whether or not he would be able to get the job done and I think he has proven that he can.
A Special Victory
Time and time agian we talk about how special teams win hockey games. That was certainly the case tonight. The Sabres scored two power play goals and one shorthnaded goals while keeping the Habs off the board while up a man. In all the Sabres were 2-for-3 on the power play and the Habs were 0-for-5. With that stat line it's hard to lose.
Max Afinogenov didn't factor into the scoring tonight but it may have been his best game of the season. It was nice to see him play that way tonight because it was no secret that he wanted to be traded. Hopefully Max can continue to play the way he played tonight because he can be an important part of this team and their run towards the playoffs.
Harry Neale Quote of the Game
We haven't had many Harry quotes to talk about lately but he was in rare form tonight. He had plenty of quotes to go with so I chose three that I'll share with you.
The first came right after Gaustad was called for a horrible interfernce penalty
"For What, knocking his hat off?"
"Montreal has 18 shots in the first period...that's more than Alex Rodriguez"
"Like a 90 year-old grandma trying to tap dance"
Thanks to everyone that was in the game thread tonight. I know it was a long day because of the trade deadline and your contributions are greatly appreciated. We hope to see all of you again on Friday night.
Roll Call: Joan O., tripl21, D.O., Calvert, qdloser, ccthemovieman, Americanario, BenAllen, chargerman73se, Hattrick12488, Fucilli5, dfderie, CrossCheckRaise
Total Users: 13
Total Posts: 200
The Sabres will welcome the Phoenix Coyotes into town on Friday night. I thought it would be a good game to get Tellqvist into but the way Lalime played tonight that may be impossible.