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Sabres 2 Thrashers 1 OT: The Kaleta Should be Proud

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When you read the newspaper or watch the highlights on NHL on the Fly, you will hear all about Derek Roy scoring the overtime winner, Tim Connolly extending his point streak to 10 games and you might even hear about Patrick Kaleta scoring in his first game back from injury. That can't even begin to describe how important Kaleta was to the Sabres victory.

Mr. Boron mentioned in the comments how listless the Sabres were through 40 minutes. That was an accurate description of most of the team but not Patrick Kaleta. He scored his seventh goal of the season to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead in the second period.

A one goal lead meant nothing to the Sabres who seemed determined to let the Thrashers back in the game. Chris Butler led a Sabres parade to the penalty box and eventually Ilya Kovalchuk made them pay with a power play goal in the final four minutes.

After 40 minutes of listless play the Sabres turned up the heat in the third period. The Sabres poured on the pressure and forced the Thrashers into penalty trouble. Ondrej Pavalec was hardly tested through 40 minutes but he earned his paycheck in the third period. He kept the Sabres off the board despite 13 shots fired at him by the visiting Sabres.

It was in overtime that Kaleta made the play of the game. His hustle turned a sure icing call into a Sabres power play after Zach Bogosian elbowed Kaleta who had beat him to the puck. The Sabres power play finally converted on a howlitzer from Derek Roy to give the Sabres two points.

 

Corsi Rating  |  Event Summary  |  Bird Watchers Anonymous

Game Highlights


Game Notes
  • Tim Connolly assisted on Derek Roy's overtime winner to extend his point streak to 10 games.
  • Derek Roy scored his second overtime goal of 2010 with both coming against the Atlanta Thrashers.
  • I can't remember the last time the Sabres won a game and Ryan Miller was not mentioned in the opening summary. Miller was typically solid tonight with 32 saves tonight. He was especially important in the opening 40 minutes when the Sabres were outshot 27-13.
  • Lindy Ruff had Mike Grier playing with Gaustad and Mair and they earned three or four big shifts in the final five minutes. They drew a big penalty in the final two minutes of regulation. The Sabres didn't score on the man advantage but they built momentum that led to a power play goal later in the OT.
  • Chris Butler has been the subject of plenty of criticism at this site and tonight was no different. He took two minor penalties and had a couple of giveaways that are mysteriously absent from the actual game stats. Despite our criticism he earned 23:47 of ice time, good for second on the team behind only Tyler Myers who had 25:57.