mild | MEDIUM | hot | suicidal
Struggling power play? Three consecutive home losses? Jiri Novotny’s return to Buffalo? None of this mattered. For a game with very little hype, the play on the ice created its own entertainment. It was a shame the crowd didn’t really get into it.
Color commentator Jim Lorentz even ooh-ed this one. Drew Stafford steals the puck from a Washington player late in the third period. The Sabres already have a 4-1 lead, but Stafford doesn’t care. He gets a little fancy with the defender in front of him, puts a little inside-out deke on him and roofs a perfect shot. Watch it again — it was something purrty.
Jason Pominville couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn tonight. The most glaring miss came in the waning seconds of the second period, as Daniel Briere fed him the puck to the left of Caps' goaltender Olaf Kolzig. “Pommers” just rushed it and ended up shooting it off into the corner. It was comical.
Just Frightening, II
Andrew Peters fighting Donald Brashear. And it was frightening as Peters got eaten alive. Down goes Peters! Down goes Peters! It was like Ali-Frazier (Peters was Frazier).
Alexander Ovechkin. One second he’s lining up a vulnerable Brian Campbell, and the next he’s lying on the ice against the boards. That Mack truck left an imprint on him for the rest of the game.
Dainius Zubrus played his first game against his old mates. He scored two assists, including one pass through his legs to Adam Mair. Mair in turn passed to Clarke MacArthur, who blasted a shot that trickled past Kolzig. Zubrus was a beast.
Alexander Ovechkin. He’s slumping, having gone three straight games without a point now.
Ryan Miller makes a glove save while stacking the pads in the first period. There is no score at this point. After this, Buffalo controlled the game. They did before the save as well, but if Washington scores there, it would have been a different game.
Washington Capitals' defenseman Milan Jurcina gets a hooking call at 17:03 of the second period. But in hindsight, he shouldn’t have even sat down. Off the faceoff, Zubrus forces a turnover behind the net and gets the puck to Daniel Briere. And like classic Briere, he steps to the front of the net and slams the shot through Kolzig’s five-hole. Briere strikes 30 and the Sabres have their second power-play goal of the night.
The Burning Question
How long will the fans of the Sabres hold the now-infamous Briere hit against “Ovie”? Every single time Ovechkin handled the puck, or got close to it, the crowd raised its vocal chords as one and booed him.
Crunching the Numbers
6 – games Ovechkin had played against the Sabres in his career before Wednesday night
6 – games he had scored a goal against the Sabres
7 – games in a row without a power-play goal entering Wednesday night
22 – chances in those games
2 – power-play goals that counted tonight
1 – that didn’t
12 – games since scoring multiple power-play goals (Feb. 20 against Philadelphia)
40 – Thomas Vanek’s plus/minus statistic after last night’s victory
0 – NHL players ahead of him in that statistic currently
2 – assists T. V. recorded in the game last night that got overlooked when choosing the stars of the game
“They just played well. We didn't score.”
—Alexander Ovechkin. All I can say is “DUH!”
In the Buffalo Wings
Did somebody say Toronto? Back-to-back games against those northern invaders see Friday night’s contest played in Buffalo before the teams bus it to T.O. for Saturday. The Leafs are right in the thick of things for the playoffs yet again. These two games will have a lot of say in the standings come April 8.