Sabres 5, Canadiens 4 (SO)
Buffalo storms back to beat Montreal
Buffalo, NY (LGS) -- It's Post-Game with a twist. Mark Zampogna takes you through Buffalo's thrilling come-from-behind victory in LGS.com's "The Power Play" ... a two-minute read on the good old hockey game!
The Big Picture
A quick whistle. A linesman spills. A last-gasp goal. Jeers. Cheers. Joy. The home team wins. Jubilation. If you thought 05-06 was wild, unpredictable and entertaining beyond possibility of replication, you probably ain't seen nothin' yet. Consecutive shootout wins to start a season? Was there a full moon up there tonight or something?
mild | medium | HOT | suicidal
This one burned on the way down and will burn on the way out when you watch it again, and you know you will. One more shake of hot sauce, and you'd be in ICU.
In the third period, Danny Briere wins a faceoff to the left of Cristobal Huet, and Jochen Hecht sends a short pass to Jason Pominville, who has his stick locked and loaded and one-times the puck through Michael Komisarek's legs and inside the right post to draw the Sabres within 3-2.
In the second period, moments after Ryan Miller gets the tip of his left glove on Alexei Kovalev's point-blank backhander, the Canadiens win a faceoff to the left of Miller and an uncovered Saku Koivu redirects the puck beyond the reach of the Buffalo goaltender. It's 3-1 Montreal.
Danny Briere. The crowd is pouring out and the frustration is filling up as Briere wins a draw inside the Buffalo line, the linesman falls to the ice, the crowd roars and the co-captain takes a long pass, splits the D and beats Cristobal Huet five-hole with 4:44 left to close the gap to 4-3. For the second game in a row, Briere saves his best for last, or almost last.
Assistant Superhero: The fan with the "We want the Cup, not the new logo" sign. And the director in the truck who calls for the shot. By the way, Mr. Quinn would like to see you in his office. Both of you.
I won't go for the easy mark and name the refs -- again. On the quick whistle, the puck IS under the goalie. And the trip of Thomas Vanek isn't much, really. Instead, I'll aim my ire at the thousands of fans who stream toward the exits with the game seemingly out of reach in the third period.
Now do you believe?! Assistant slug: Me. When Saku Koivu wins that draw against Chris Drury with about 30 seconds left, and the Habs clear the zone, I name him Superhero in my mind. Yep, NOW I believe.
Thomas Vanek. Vanek goes around the world and ends up behind the Montreal net before he sends a sweet backhand pass in front to Jiri Novotny as the Sabres draw within 2-1 in the second period. Then Vanek scores the clinching goal in the shootout, declining the deke and just snapping one from the hashes over the glove of the goaltender and inside the junction of the crossbar and the right post, where Max had boldly gone before. Postgame Power Play Three Stars: 1. Max Afinogenov 2. Cristobal Huet 3. Daniel Briere (Official stars at right)
On the Hot Seat
Sabres' discipline. After 10 penalties in the opener, including a misconduct for mouthing off from the bench, the heat was really on. So right away Andrew Peters Umbergers the puckless Steve Begin to the ice, then jaws away, tempting the Hockey Gods. Sure enough, the Habs make him pay with a power play goal 10 seconds later. But the Sabres are still stuck on that one dumb minor until they get into drastic penalty trouble in the third period. Teppo Numminen's unnecessary hook with his team already shorthanded is shocking, coming from him. Then Chris Drury, out of sheer frustration, hooks Sergei Samsonov. Verdict: the Sabres' discipline stays on the hot seat, taking the power play off the hook, for now.
Max Afinogenov has had one of THOSE nights. His apparent first-period goal is waved off. He dingles when linemate Danny Briere dangles at the Montreal line, leading to one groin pull (by me) and one slammed door to the bench (by Max). He fans on the big fat rebound of Ales Kotalik's bomb in the second period, then finds himself off the top line to start the third.
Finally, with 14.9 seconds to go and Ryan Miller on the bench, sweet release as the Sabres storm the crease like bumblebees and The Magazine stings Montreal to tie the game. And he's not done yet.
This game has more twists than Jerry Seinfeld's "move," but maybe the most interesting one comes early in the second period. Trailing 1-0, the Sabres dominate the early going, and the Canadiens don't show much life after failing to record a shot in the final 10 minutes of the first. Suddenly, Ryan Miller is under siege, and the Habs break through at 3:50 to take a 2-0 lead.
The Big Click
A few decent jolts in this one, including Brian Campbell's early shouldering of Garth Murray into the glass inside the Buffalo line. Party on. But the biggest click of the night comes in the shootout when Alexei Kovalev has Ryan Miller leaning like Pisa, but Quasimodo rings the bell. Bellisimo!
The Burning Question
Why isn't Adam Mair's office in the goal crease?
The Fight Card
Nobody dropped 'em.
Crunching the Numbers
0 - Seconds that the Sabres led
2 - Points that they earned
1 - Really weird concept
1-3-1 - Lindy Ruff's record in his first five home-openers
3-1 - In his last four
“We’re not quitters.” -- Danny Briere
In the Buffalo Wings
Off to Ottawatawatawatawa, where no one should expect Marty Biron to see his first action of the season. Remember that Ryan Miller got a bunch of consecutive starts to kick off 05-06.