Game Night! Isles @ Sabres 11/29/11
Fresh off slaying another coach, the Sabres are back in action at home versus the bottom-feeding Islanders. Fresh off cracking jokes about coach-slaying, I’m back in the press box to live blog the game! Will the Sabres turn their fortunes against the Island around tonight, or will New York succeed in getting that elusive second (you read that right) road win?
6:29PM – The Sabres hit the ice for warmups, led by the Demon Swede/Ewok/Jhonasty/what-have-you again. Looks like it’s Szczechura in for Kaleta, who isn’t with his mates.
6:30PM – Sitting with us bloggers tonight is a member of the Austrian press, here to cover Austria’s golden boys Vanek and Grabner.
6:36PM – I’m excited to see Brayden McNabb and Zack Kassian in person tonight. I’ve watched them both pretty closely since juniors (McNabb closer – I love the WHL), so it’s exciting to see them playing under the bright lights so quickly. I was shocked to find out after the Washington game that they combined for 11 hits, but it’s good to see a couple of players known for physical play to acclimate themselves so quickly. All eyes on the kids tonight.
6:59PM – Sabres announce Kaleta is the only scratch for tonight. Gaustad, Ellis, and Stafford start up front. Leopold and Sekera on the back end. Enroth in net.
7:00PM – Islanders starting P.A. Parenteau, Matt Moulson, and John Tavares up front. Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald on the blue line. Al Montoya in the net.
7:29PM – Despite being down 1-0 after surrendering the power play goal to John Tavares, the Sabres have looked the better team. It’s a lack of finish early that has them trailing instead of leading, but this could quickly turn into one of those nights if they don’t capitalize in the first 30 minutes of play.
7:35PM – Zack Kassian gets an assist in his first NHL game. Then he scores his first goal in his second game. Then he throws down in an epic bout with Matt Martin after Nino Niederreiter goes high on a puckless Nathan Gerbe. It ended with Martin begging for mercy after Kassian was pulled from his jersey and pads.
7:44PM – It’s the end of the first period and the Sabres are still trailing 1-0. Lots of good looks but nothin doin. If the Sabres don’t score a couple goals in the second period, I’ll be surprised.
With the full house up here tonight on blogger row, I’ll be tweeting more than blogging. It’s one thing when it’s two blogs up here, but five live blogs is just a bit overkill. Instead, on Twitter, I’ll focus on my usual – dorky references, chirping the music, and tossing out memes. Fun wow!
8:13PM – Sabres and Islanders just played a very fun stretch of fire wagon hockey…sans scoring. Matthew Stewart said it best on Twitter:
This type of hockey — back and forth, lots of chances but few goals is the BEST kind. Better than high scoring, better than goalie clinics—
Matthew Stewart (@matthew1stewart) November 30, 2011
8:18PM – As has been pointed out on Twitter, Al Montoya is not handling shots very well tonight. It would do well to crash the net for rebounds, but the Sabres are playing cutesy hockey and it’s doing them no favors.
8:33PM – Enroth stops a gasper from dribbling over the goal line and period two ends seconds later. The Sabres and Islanders, after playing some really exciting hockey, are playing quite the snoozer. Or as visiting coaches would call it, the perfect road game. Islanders keep collapsing like they are around Montoya and they’ll escape this one with a win.
9:09PM – It’s roughly just past the halfway point of the third period and it’s 2-1 Islanders. Hecht scored early to tie it up, but after some heart-stopping shenanigans and lucky saves, the Islanders went up again as Brian Rolston found himself alone in front of the net. It’s stuff like that that is driving home fans insane.
9:19PM – The Sabres had a 94-second 5-on-3 power play and, despite trying their damnedest, they couldn’t make it work. Derek Roy had the best chances the entire try, but either found goalie or air each time. Now here’s Jason Griswold with a good observation:
9:29PM – The Sabres fall in pretty boo-inducing fashion, boo the fans did. Ville Leino and Marc-Andre Gragnani earned lots of new enemies among Blue and Gold faithful tonight. Game story up tonight.