Thursday, April 5, 2007
Sabres 4, Bruins 2
The team came onto the ice to a thunderous ovation, and they departed the ice to an even more thunderous ovation. On this, the final home game of the regular season, the Sabres came back from their 10th two goal deficit of the season to take care of business and defeat the Boston Bruins, 4-2. It was the Sabres' 41st sellout of the year... that's right, all 18,690 tickets were sold for every single game this year.
Thomas Vanek is just a sophomore, but in a few years he is going to own this league. He scored two tonight, including the game winner in the third period, where he took it to the net himself and shoved the puck in on the backhand. He later set up a beautiful goal to Derek Roy to put this one away.
In his first game back Maxim Afinogenov looked like his old self, and seemed to gain more confidence as the game wore on, with his patented end to end rushes and his magical stickhandling. Imagine what this team can be like if he shows up for the playoffs.
Coach Lindy Ruff and several of the players took the opportunity to acknowledge the fans and thank the community for their support all season. "You feel it everywhere. You feel it at Tim Horton's, at the gas station, The fever is everywhere... we're living it... We're just trying to stay grounded." said Ruff after the game. Brian Campbell also said "Many a time it has been like a playoff atmosphere in here this year". Maxim Afinogenov enjoyed the postgame salute "It was great for us to be able to show our appreciation to the great crowd tonight."
So now the team hits the road for the final two... at Washington Saturday and then at Philadelphia Sunday, both afternoon games. Still at stake is the President's Trophy, and it is now between Buffalo and Detroit to determine the winner. More great news for Buffalo - Chicago defeated Detroit in a shootout tonight, depriving the Red Wings of a precious point. Buffalo's magic number to clinch the President's Trophy is down to 2.
At the end of the game, the entire Sabres team skated onto the ice to salute the great Buffalo fans for their season long support.