Another game down, another step closer to one of the best players to ever don a Buffalo Sabres jersey. Breathe in. Breathe out. Andrej Meszaros didn't do enough to spoil our fun.
Meszaros did score two of the Sabres three goals in the third period, as the Sabres began to make a game out of what looked like a blowout. Colorado still managed to keep Buffalo at an arms length at all times, defeating the Sabres 5-3.
Colorado is a team you can point to when it comes to wanting great players at the top of the draft (if recants your statement by saying they aren't in the playoffs, show them Colorado's defensive depth chart. Sheesh.), but it wasn't all the players you'd expect for Colorado tonight. Marc-Andre Cliche, John Mitchell and Brad Stuart had three of the Avalanche's goals, while top defenseman Tyson Barrie and former third overall pick Matt Duchene also beat the Sabres goalie duo.
The Avalanche got out to a 4-0 lead after two periods, but two goals from Meszaros and one from Rasmus Ristolainen allowed the Sabres to remain competitive. Even down two goals late in the third the Sabres looked decent offensively, but couldn't beat Semyon Varlamov to narrow the lead to one.
It seems that Anders Lindback 's magic is starting to wear off, as the Swedish goaltender was chased by Colorado after just one period. Matt Hackett replaced him, and allowed two goals on his first two shots. That's tanking at it's finest. The Sabres still need Hackett to play three more games to retain him as a restricted free agent.
Johan Larsson picked up a secondary assist on one of Meszaros' goals, continuing his three-game point streak. He has nine points in his last ten games. Zac Dalpe also earned his first point as a Sabre with an assist on Ristolainen's goal.
The Sabres will be back Monday night in round two of the Battle for McEichel with the Arizona Coyotes. There may be just as many Arizona fans there as there were in Buffalo earlier this week.
1. Will the Sabres be able to muster up any semblance of an offense without Tyler Ennis?
Down 4-0 at the end of the second period, it didn't look like it. But the Sabres did manage to work their way back into the game, thanks surprisingly to a two goal effort from Meszaros.
2. Who will be the sixth defenseman?
Tyson Strachan was the man for the Sabres, as Ted Nolan is apparently frustrated with Nikita Zadorov.
3. Where will Buffalo stand in the standings at the end of the night?
Of course still in 30th, and rather unchanged since the beginning of the day. The Coyotes went up 1-0 on Pittsburgh, but gave up three goals in a row in the third period to sink the lowly Yotes. The Sabres are still six points behind Arizona and nine behind Edmonton, now just with one less game remaining on the schedule. Seven more games guys, seven more games.