Detroit, MI (LGS) -- It's Post-Game with a twist. Mark Zampogna takes you through Buffalo's come-from-behind victory in Detroit with LGS.com's "Postgame Power Play" ... a two-minute read on the good old hockey game!
Just the facts
Jason Williams scores twice to give the Wings a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Chris Drury's power play goal late in the first and Thomas Vanek's late in the second tie the game. Despite being outshot by a wide margin, the Sabres win their third shootout of the young season, 3-2, on the final flick of a hockey stick by Ales Kotalik, and snap an eight-game losing streak in Detroit. And, oh yeah, Ryan Miller makes 41 saves.
The Big Picture
On Opening Night II, Ryan Miller's sense of timing is as good as his flair for the dramatic. With friends and family watching in his return to Joe Louis Arena, where he played a ton of games for Michigan State, and with Dominik Hasek watching from the other end of the ice, Miller stages the signature game of his National Hockey League career. He does it with numerous perfectly timed stops, including a fine save on Johan Franzen seconds before Thomas Vanek's tying goal, a pad save on Henrik Zetterberg with two seconds left in the second period, a gobbling save on Pavel Datsyuk's heavy one-timer seconds into the third period and one of the most timely saves of all -- a second before the end of regulation time.
mild | medium | HOT | suicidal
Watching Ryan Miller beat The Dominator and the Sabres go 4-0 on the season: Priceless.
Ryan Miller is in midseason form.
So are the snowplow drivers.
Ryan Miller. This isn't a night for Sabre fans to look wistfully at the Wing goal crease and remember the glory days of Dominik Hasek. It's a night to look at the Sabre goal crease and enjoy a carbon copy of so many Dominating performances when Hasek stood on his groin and gave his teammates a chance to earn so many improbable pairs of points.
Max Afinogenov. It's a brutal night for Afinogenov, who takes four minor penalties, one late in the third with the Sabres threatening to take the lead. He'll never be allowed to forget the one he takes in the first period, though, when he plays the puck while standing on the Buffalo bench. Oh, we can laugh now. Assistant slugs: Dominik Hasek and Bruce MacLeod. Hasek steps into the charging Danny Briere, then takes a dive to try and draw a penalty.
Instead, it's Hasek who gets the gate, and the Sabres score on the ensuing power play to tie the game at 2. MacLeod, a writer for the Oakland Press, picks the three stars and snubs Ryan Miller!
Dominik Hasek. With the game on the line in the third period, Hasek reflexively fires out his right leg to get his pad on Jason Pominville's against-the-grain snapper from the right hash, then makes a quicksilver save with that same pad on Thomas Vanek's slamming offer from the doorstep.
Postgame Power Play Three Stars: 1. Ryan Miller 2. Sabres' penalty killers (killed all eight Wing chances) 3. Jason Williams (Official stars at right)
On the Hot Seat
Sabres' power play. With the power out in Buffalo, the power comes on in Detroit. Two timely power play goals get the Sabres back in the game.
Verdict: The unit is off the hot seat and down the hallway to the lockerroom with pieces of toilet paper trailing from their skates.
The Wings lead 2-1 midway through the second period when Maxim Afinogenov is called for cross checking and Adam Mair is nabbed for holding -- at the same time. But a big block here, a huge clear there, a faceoff win and some key saves from your best penalty killer, the goaltender, help the Sabres survive. The kicker -- Toni Lydman rags the puck behind the Buffalo net with six seconds left in the kill, then calmly skies the puck on his backhand, landing it softly at center ice like a Phil Mickelson lob wedge.
Early in the second period, the line of Derek Roy, Max Afinogenov and Thomas Vanek breaks into the Detroit zone on an odd-man rush, and the Sabres sustain some serious pressure for the first time all night. They are going to make a game of it after all.
The Big Click
Another game with few big hits, but Danny Markov lays a dandy on Jaroslav Spacek in the second period, delivering a strong shoulder jolt outside the Red Wing blue line.
The Burning Question
Is any hockey game, even an early-season non-conference game, worth missing for any baseball game, even a league championship series game?
The Fight Card
In the first period, Andrew Peters and Brad Norton go at it in a brief tilt that sees some girlie punches thrown early, then Peters connect late before taking Norton to the ice. Edge: Peters
Crunching the Numbers
19 - Times the Sabres were shorthanded in the first four games last season
31 - In the first four games this season
31 - Years since the Sabres started a season 4-0
"I just tried to forgive myself. I know the guys would forgive me." -- Ryan Miller on his misplay of a very early shoot-in that led to a 1-0 Wing lead
In the Buffalo Wings
The Sabres host the Rangers at HSBC Arena on Saturday night. Maybe.