Buffalo, NY (LGS) -- It's Post-Game with a twist. Mark Zampogna takes you through Buffalo's 9-1 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers in LGS.com's "POSTGAME POWER PLAY" ... a two-minute read on the good old hockey game!
Just the Facts
Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy score twice, and Maxim Afinogenov adds a spectacular goal and four assists as seven different players tally in a 9-1 rout of the Flyers at HSBC Arena. Only a third period goal by Jeff Carter that breaks up Ryan Miller's shutout bid disappoints another sellout throng. The Sabres win their sixth straight game.
The Big Picture
The Philadelphia Fear Factor is officially dead, its ventilator unplugged. The Hate Factor shouldn't be far behind. In a seismic historical shift, they should now fear us, and we should pity them. As tough as it is for neurotic Buffalo sports fans to accept, the reality is this: the statement applies to the other 28 teams in the league, too.
mild | medium | hot | SUICIDAL
The Flyers. The Sabres. A chant of "We want 10!" And the fans all go insane.
The Sabres are so far ahead in the third period, when the Flyers take a penalty, they put out the junior varsity.
Andrew Peters on the first unit power play.
Thomas Vanek. This is the breakout game of his career, and it's a joy to watch. Set aside his magnificent assist on Derek Roy's goal, a rare double-wow give and go, and his two goals. He kills penalties, goes to the front of the net to screen the goaltender on Henrik Tallinder's score and drops Peter Forsberg (then again, who didn't?). The metamorphosis of Vanek into a hockey player continues. Assistant Superhero: Gerry Magill, the guy who pushes the button to set off the thundering horn at HSBC Arena.
Ken Hitchcock. Robert Esche plays a heroic first period. When the Sabres open up on him in the second period, it's time to give him enough respect to put him out of his misery. Hitchcock allows his goaltender to be embarrassed. Assistant slug: Referee Gord Dwyer blows that penalty shot call. Jaro Spacek gets the puck on a sweep check!
Ryan Miller. Miller might actually be the most valuable Sabre on a night they score nine goals -- go figure. Besides his penalty shot heroics, Miller snares an actual shot by Mike Richards, stops a deflected Sami Kapanen point shot through traffic and makes a save on a two-on-one rush in the dying seconds, all in the first period to keep the game scoreless. Postgame Power Play Three Stars: 1. Thomas Vanek 2. Maxim Afinogenov 3. Teppo Numminen (assists on first two goals) (Official stars at right)
On the Hot Seat
The Sabres' starts. One of the few knocks you can make on the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres is that they tend to hit the snooze button. Against the Flyers, the Sabres are wide awake, dumping the puck in, forcing some turnovers and outshooting the Flyers 4-1 in the first 10 minutes, all quality chances. But, hey, they do revert to form in the second and third periods! Verdict: Not guilty.
I was going to go with Ryan Miller's "save" on Mike Richard's penalty shot in the first period, where Miller takes away every last option, forcing Richards to a position where he has so little angle, he reaches for his bottle of Viagra. But nah. I just wanted to work in the Viagra joke. The real Defining Moment, out of left field, or left wing, comes in the third period when Brian Campbell passes up a great scoring chance to try and feed Derek Roy for his hat trick. Esprit de corps like that might be this team's greatest attribute, of many.
The Sabres lead 1-0 on Thomas Vanek's goal at 37 seconds of the second period and start to dominate the game. But they take consecutive penalties to give the Flyers some hope. On a four on four situation, Ryan Miller uses his stick to turn aside another point-blank chance by Mike Richards, and on the same sequence, Richards takes a penalty for hooking. The Sabres score on the ensuing two-man advantage, Jaroslav Spacek blasting it past Robert Esche for his first goal as a Sabre and a 2-0 lead.
The Big Click
Andrew Peters deposits Peter Forsberg onto the open ice in the third period.
The Burning Question
When Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock meet for that candelight dinner before the game, does Hitchock ask Ruff, "Are you going to finish that?"?
The Fight Card
Nobody dropped 'em.
Crunching the Numbers
12 - Seconds left in the second when the crowd gets to its feet
10 - What we wanted, badly
28 - Actual pushes of horn button by Magill, three times for each goal and once at the end
0 - Prettier goals Maxim Afinogenov has ever scored than when he goes end to end, plays a raptor to the fossilized Derian Hatcher, cuts to the front of the net and tucks the puck inside the left post
6 - Exclamation points in this column
1 - Normally fairly objective observer who is doing a wash of underwear right now
"Way to run over 'em!" -- Danny Briere, miked by Versus, watching a teammate deliver a hit. We agree!
In the Buffalo Wings
The Sabres host the Hurricanes on Friday night. And we want 7!