Friday, April 27, 2007
GAME 2: Sabres 3, Rangers 2
For two periods, the Buffalo Sabres played like they were doped up, managing just nine shots on goal and thanks to some very solid play in net by Ryan Miller, they were kept in the game, staring at only a 2-1 deficit after two periods.
When the third period started, everything changed. Buffalo got an early goal, a Chris Drury tip in on a perfect pass from Toni Lydman. A few minutes later Thomas Vanek jammed in the game winner, after setting up a perfect pass to Campbell on the point and then crashing the net to bury it.
From there the Sabres put on the burners…wave after wave of attacks which had the crowd up on its feet time and time again.
But the real drama was in the last two minutes, as Buffalo was called with a penalty with 1:48 to go. The Rangers pulled their goaltender, giving them a two skater advantage, and from there it was heart in your throat time and gut check time. “I really wasn’t all that panicked” said Ryan Miller after the game. “I didn’t get to see the call on Briere but I certainly did see Avery punching Briere in the face after the whistle and that wasn’t called.”
Buffalo did a bang up job clearing the puck during that last minute, and the officials missed a seeming offsides call with 10 seconds that had Lindy Ruff steaming afterwards. Even the Rangers attackers held up expecting a whistle but none was called. Ruff was awarded a gross misconduct penalty at the end of the game for his bottle throwing rant.
So what happened in the locker room between the second and third periods? Brian Campbell replies "We just needed to get the puck in front of the net more and create scoring chances. We all talked about it and that quick goal early on so totally lifted the entire bench."
On my pedestal - what more can you say aboout Dainius Zubrus? Again he threw his body around, forechecked with total abandon, played puck control in the attack zone and delivered punishing hit after hit. If the Sabres advance and end up playing Ottawa, the Sens will have a handful to deal with and a force they didn't see in Buffalo when the teams last played.
In my doghouse.. Max Mr. Giveaway Afinogenov and the fact that you didn't see him on the third speaks volumes. Oh.. and yoo hoo, Jochen!!! Feel free to show up some night.
Lastly, props to Ryan Miller for not only his stellar play tonight, but not getting sucked in to a war of words with the Rangers. When told that Jagr had remarked "They probably think it's over," Miller calmly replied that the Rangers deserve every bit of respect and that this is only one game.
So on to the Big Apple it is for a Sunday afternoon game on NBC. Score early..take the crowd out of it.. show why you're such a great road team. Can't wait!!!