Friday, April 20, 2007
GAME 5: Sabres 4, Islanders 3
The Sabres played a nearly perfect game for two periods, using their speed and aggression to attack the offensive zone and make play after play. Only the lack of finishing scoring chances kept this one from becoming a total laugher, and after two it was 3-0 Sabres.
That's when things got hairy - the Isles' Mirolav Satan finally got a goal in this series early in the third, but Buffalo answered right after by a pretty goal by Max Afinogenov. Light the cigar right? New York cut the lead again to two at the tten minute mark, then three minutes later scored again to make it 4-3.
"Yeah things felt a little desperate on the bench at that point" admitted Toni Lydman. After the game, Daniel Briere told the press, "The important thing is we found ways to win these games."
Ryan Miller stopped nine shots in the final seven minutes, but none bigger than with 10 seconds to go, robbing Miro Satan on the doorstep with a blind save.
The feeling in the locker room afterwards was not one of jubilation, or that of relief; basically a sense of accomplishment that they got this round behind them, and every player and Coach Lindy Ruff admitted that the few days rest will do some good. After the game PR Director Mike Gilbert announced that Wednesday is the earliest possible date for the next game.
In my doghouse - Toni Lydman, who was a -2 for the night and on a couple occasions failed to clear the puck from the zone. And I like Jochen Hecht, but we're at the point that maybe sitting him for a game might send this guy a message,
Penalty and game misconduct to... the game day entertainment crew. Whipping up the stupid wave with 9 minutes to go, then playing Sweet Caroline (bah! bah! bah!) with a tenuous one goal lead.... UGH! This stuff is OK when the game is salted away, but otherwise totally inappropriate. So shut the goddam hell up, or play some organ music, and let the fans do the rest.
Props to... the Sabres players, who again gathered as one after the handshakes were over, to salute the fans with their sticks. The crowd ate it up, of course... Plenty of love going back and forth, a nice, nice feeling.
So onward we go, with either NYR or TBL our next opponent... and still... "the chance that maybe we'll find... better days."