Was it me, or did it seem that the postseason REALLY got underway tonight?
The Sabres used a three goal burst late in the second period to propel them to a 5-2 win over the Rangers. Thomas Vanek picked up a pair of goals. Pominville and Kotalik each added one a piece and Drew Stafford added an empty netter to finish off the Sabres scoring.
The Rangers came out and held their own in the first ten to fifteen minutes of play using a physical style of play to keep Buffalo in check. After that the Sabres seemed to turn on the jets as rush after rush of attacks came down the ice for Buffalo. Only some stellar play by Henrik Lundqvist kept the game scoreless in the first.
It was more of the same until Vanek finally broke through with just under six minutes left in the second, and soon after it was like the dam had burst as Kotalik would add his and Vanek would strike again all within a four minute span.
The Sabres pretty much had the game iced thanks not to a fourth goal but from killing off a five on three power play that ended with about eleven minutes to go. Taro lit the cigar at that point.....
Sean Avery yapped about how he was going to hurt Sabre players....Game 1 stats: eighteen minutes on the ice, four minutes in the box, minus three rating for the night. Thanks for the assistance Sean!
In the postgame the Rangers lamented the fact that they gave the Sabres many power play opportunities. Brendan Shanahan said that " I liked the way we started for the first ten minutes....then we gave them the momentum...we put them on the power play time after time and we kinda let their offensive players get into the game.."
Toni Lydman seemed upbeat after a night of chasing around Jagr but noted the difficulties in that task:"Jagr is tough to defend against. We try our hardest to stop him but he has size and strength. We need to work on that more but we have so much confidence with Ryan backing us up it makes our job easier."
Hey Drew you just nabbed the empty netter, how'd it feel? "I was down on the ice and I could see the refs arm up and a penalty being called. Next thing you know the crowd is roaring. I never saw the puck actually go in the net."
(And I'm sure they practice the dragged-down-on-the-ice-while-shooting-puck-into-the-net-play EVERY DAY in practice.)
Other thoughts, useless or not.....
The Sabres five goal outburst is one shy of the entire series output of the Atlanta Thrashers in the first round....Jaromir...I don't think we're in Atlanta anymore...
Unique fan jersey of the night: A Tretiak USSR jersey spotted in the 300's.
The walk down Washington Street to the arena featured a new dot matrix board in front of Dunn Tire Park, I then looked to my right and saw a countdown to the Cup mural at the top floor of the City Grill building.
Also wondering if it was the weather or the lack of alcoholic beverages that kept the size of the crowd down in the plaza tonight.
The new marquee is up and running in front of the ballpark
Check out the countdown in the windows at this office building on Main and Swan. (Click on photo to enlarge and get a better look)