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Game Night! Red Wings @ Sabres 12/2/11

12/02/11
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Both Miller brothers are in the house tonight, so that can only mean two things. One, it means that Momma Miller is likely here with her ugly frankenjersey blazer. Two, it’s game night and Black & Blue & Gold is doing work in the pressbox again!

Stories so far: Ryan Miller is dressed (albeit as the backup) for the first time in three weeks, man-mountain Joe Finley is making his NHL debut after saving his career from freak injuries with solid play in Rochester, a trio of forwards are back from injury (Ennis, Kaleta, Stafford) and crowding the bench, and Mike Grier is basking the glow of praise from around the NHL following his retirement yesterday.

After the jump, it’s live-bloggin’ time!

Pregame
7:15PM – Sorry for the lack of pregame updates, folks. I just spent a good chunk of change talking to Kate from The Willful Caboose and Andrew from Artvoice about a story he’s writing about bloggers getting media access. Keep an eye on it in next week’s issue! Sabres are just leaving the ice after warmups, so I’ve got no clue who was or wasn’t out there. Sorry, kids.

7:22PM – Just saw a tweet from Bill Hoppe come across my feed listing Matt Ellis as the scratch, so if you didn’t already know you do now.

First Period
7:45PM – Fun pace to the game so far, with both the Sabres and Red Wings making sloppy passes and failing to clear the puck out of the zone. If this kind of game keeps up, the Red Wings probably become the more dangerous team with their veteran talent.

7:52PM – After the Sabres spoiled a number of prone Jimmy Howard scoring chances, the Red Wings score on an unscreened bomb from the point to take the 1-0 lead. Red Wings looking to go up 2-0 as Roy goes to the box for hooking.

7:56PM – It was a Mike Babcock power play versus a Lindy Ruff penalty kill, and Lindy won the battle of the awesome special teams play. Enroth only faced one real test throughout because the Sabres kept taking away the shooting lanes, forcing the Red Wings to keep to the perimeter most of the man-advantage.

8:01PM – Sabres back in the box, this time Jason Pominville for high-sticking, and the Red Wings go up 2-0 thanks to Johan Franzen being left wide open in front of the net.

8:06PM – A lot of tweets flying around the twittosphere that the Sabres aren’t even in the same league as the Red Wings tonight, and it shows. Zetterberg feeds a streaking Filppula, who scores to put Detroit up 3-0. It’s ugly so far, folks.

8:11PM – Despite his flashy high glove save to prevent a 4-0 lead, Enroth hasn’t looked stellar tonight. Neither have the guys in front of him, as the Sabres are back to the kill as Vanek holds Filppula from behind. The Red Wing has looked very good tonight against the Sabres.

8:16PM – The Sabres escape the first period down 3-0. It could easily have been 4-, 5-, or even 6-0 in favor of the Red Wings. I’m guessing Ryan Miller will be camped in his crease to start the second, the only Buffalo player spared Lindy Ruff’s wrath in the dressing room.

Second Period
8:35PM – Jhonas Enroth in net, but you have to question how long it’ll last if he gives up another Detroit goal.

8:39PM – Zack Kassian’s helluva shift draws a tripping call and the Sabres are on the power play looking for their first goal. At times, Kassian was fighting off two Red Wings at a time with only one hand on the stick. It finally took Abdelkader tripping the big rookie to finally get him away from the puck.

8:41PM – Marc Andre Gragnani does himself no favors among the Sabres faithful as he bobbles a puck at the blueline and out without an ounce of pressure from a Red Wing. The Red Wings are doing to the Sabres what they had done to them, only with more shots allowed and better shorthanded penetration.

8:44PM – The Pom and Tom Show give fans reason to cheer again as their line gets plenty of chances despite no goals. Moments later, Roy goes soaring after skating into a Red Wing’s stick to draw a tripping penalty. If this man-advantage is anything like the last, the Sabres will need to focus on not giving up shorthanded chances.

8:57PM – Joe Finley update time! Given the rest of the team looks like polished turds tonight, it’s no surprise that Finley hasn’t looked good. It also doesn’t help that they’re playing the Red Wings.

9:01PM – Kate made a great observation about Christian Ehrhoff that all Sabres fans wouldn’t mind ceasing, I’m sure:

twitter.com/Katebits/status/142784680096317440

9:02PM – He only appears once in a while, but Bad Derek is back in a big way. No points and and a basketful of minor penalties to bring to Grandma’s house. While the much-maligned diving has become a thing of the past, his dumb penalties continue to thrive when things are going badly.

9:07PM – And the Sabres are booed off the ice for the second home game in a row.

Third Period
9:28PM – Nathan Gerbe gives the Sabres their best chance of the night, going hard to Jimmy Howard and drawing a high-sticking call by a backchecking Red Wing. It’s been dismal for the Sabres damn near the entire game, and it’s going to take a Herculean effort just to break the shutout.

9:41PM – It’s been quiet – too quiet – around this live blog because the Sabres haven’t done much of anything to write about. Worth noting is Brayden McNabb’s hitting and lack of being on the ice for a goal against.

9:43PM – Thomas Vanek, who has done so much over the last couple of years to shed his “lazy Euro” label, just coasted through the neutral zone and gave up the puck like a nerd being bullied for his lunch money – far too easily. It won’t earn him any favors with his detractors, or fans for that matter.

9:50PM – Taking a pretty pass from Jason Pominville on a two-on-one, Jochen Hecht finally gets the Sabres on the board with 6 to go in third period. Hecht has 3 goals in 5 games since returning from his concussion.

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