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Game Night! NüJets @ Sabres 11/08/11


It’s the night Dale Hawerchuk returns to Buffalo and Black & Blue & Gold is perched in blogger row. It’s my first night in the pressbox, so why not try my hand at BBG’s first live blog? Mastodon has already assaulted the senses of fans in their seats – it’s going to be a good night.

6:49PM – Warm-ups are over and the Sabres and Jets left the ice a few minutes ago. Starting goalies are Miller and Pavelec. Tonight’s Sabres HOF ceremony will take place around 7:08 with puck drop pushed back toward 7:30. Just imagine it’s a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.

6:58PM – Scratches are in the books. Ennis, Weber, and Kaleta are out for Buffalo while Postma, Jones, and Maxwell are nixed for Winnipeg. And now it’s time for the opening videos and Doug Allen belting out the anthems.

7:03PM – Starting lineups are out as the Sabres skate onto the ice. The Gerbe/Gaustad/Boyes line are starting for Buffalo with Myers and Sekera on the back end. The Jets have Ladd/Little/Wheeler starting up front with Oduya and Byfuglien on the blueline.

7:10PM – The Sabres HOF ceremony is under way, with Danny Gare just having introduced Dale Hawerchuk to a standing ovation.

7: 18PM – Following Hawerchuk, Gare preempted an awesome video about RJ’s career. So many memorable calls. And the cheers for RJ eclipse the cheers for Pegula by a mile.

First Period
7:28PM – It’s game time, y’all. First shift for Myers was solid. He really needs to get it going. Is he just a late bloomer or super overrated? Too early to tell.

7:34PM – Mark Flood found himself alone in the crease and put the puck over Miller’s shoulder to give the Jets the 1-0 lead on only the second shot of the game (both Winnipeg’s). Up until that development, the Sabres looked like the better squad.

7:35PM – Less than a minute later, Bryan Little takes a pass from behind the net and shoots it home to give the Jets a 2-0 lead. It may be popular around Buffalo right now to blame Miller, but grossly-blown coverage in front (first goal) and behind (second goal) is a good way to surrender goals.

7:42PM – Since surrending the first two goals, the Sabres have come to life in a big way. On their second power play of the game, Derek Roy tucks home a rebound to cut the deficit to one. It’s 2-1 Jets with 10:55 remaining in the first period.

7:46PM – Talk about coming to life – seconds later, recent call-up Corey Tropp scores his first NHL goal to tie the game at 2 a-piece. Tropp earned his call-up by having a strong showing during camp, the Traverse City tournament, and his play in Rochester so far.

7:50PM – If hockey was soccer, the go-ahead goal for the Jets would be credited to Tyler Myers as an own goal. Chaos in front of the net saw Myers knock the puck in past a prone Miller. If there was a game to not blame Ryan Miller for goals against, tonight is it. He has been getting zero assistance from his skaters. There are still over 8 minutes left in the opening frame.

7:53PM – The Sabres have the best penalty kill in the NHL, and a good kill can spark a team. One way to do it is to score shorthanded, which Jason Pominville did by plugging home Paul Gaustad’s pretty spin-o-rama pass. 3-3 with 6 and change left in the first period. Fire wagon hockey in the house.

7:56PM – Andrew Ladd punches in a puck, which is immediately waved off. Fun fact – Ladd only managed to punch it in because of Christian Ehrhoff hitting him from the side. Wouldn’t it be fun if he did that on purpose.

8:06PM – The Sabres end the period on a one-man advantage after blowing over a minute of 5-on-3. Some good looks scattered about but Roy’s terrible forced pass epitomized the two-man-up situation. The home side looked much stronger as the period wore on – one would have to assume they’ll come out strong to start the second.

Second Period
8:28PM – Sabres coming out strong doesn’t happen as Gerbe takes a bone-headed holding the stick penalty half a minute in and then Miller misplays a shot to give the Jets a 4-3 lead on the power play. It’s Bryan Little’s second of the game. Despite the lack of defense, Miller was sorely out of position on the goal – the first goal of the night that could be hung squarely on the netminder.

8:35PM – For the last few minutes, the Jets were putting on a forechecking clinic with an assist to the Sabres running around in circles in their own zone. Winnipeg does not look good at all in the back end, but the Sabres can’t take advantage of it because they can’t get over their own blue line.

8:39PM – Cody McCormick and Tanner Glass have an epic scrap in the Jets’ zone, with both players looking worse for wear. McCormick was oozing from above his eye just a bit (understatement).

8:42PM – Nathan Gerbe back in the box means the Sabres get to improve on their league-leading kill, which they fail to do this time. The Sabres have only allowed one goal when on the kill tonight, giving them four against on the season.

8:48PM – As a few have said on Twitter, Myers’ early season struggles have seemingly spread to Andrej Sekera tonight. The Sabres’ best defenseman (along with Robyn Regehr) this season has looked shaky and made some sub-par plays throughout the night. Between himself and Myers, it’s been a bad night for the pair.

8:54PM – It was Thomas Vanek on the point with the slapshot, and it’s tied with 4 minutes left in the second period. Shots like that are what spawn hashtags, folks.

Third Period
9:16PM – After some wonky internets, the live blog is back. The third period has just begun with the score 5-4 Jets, thanks to Thomas Vanek shooting the puck like he had a railgun in Quake II and then Dustin Byfuglien walking in on Miller with no one to stop him. It’s been the kind of game where Miller may just put flaming bags of dog poop on his defense’s porches.

9:25PM – Myers adds to his brutal night by swatting away a stick with such force that he winds up in the box for interference. The Sabres really and truly need to get their number one defenseman going but he’s looked lost out there a lot of the time.

9:33PM – Besides his first NHL goal, Corey Tropp is having a pretty good game. Despite a couple of rough rookie shifts, he’s battled every moment he’s been on the ice and just put Brett Festerling through the ice at the red line. However strong his play, though, he may not survive the numbers game when Kaleta comes back.

9:39PM – Not that it bears repeating, but Tyler Myers is having a bad game. Everything about him just seems off, especially after that debacle at the blueline.

9:46PM – On their third (yes – third) two man advantage of the night, the Sabres finally capitalize with a one-timer by Derek Roy. The game is all knotted up at 5 with just under 6 to play in regulation. That it took umpteen power plays to score again is a good indicator of their frustrating play tonight.

9:54PM – After looking like it was going to be a Jets blowout win during the first few minutes, the Sabres managed to scrape a point out of this barn-burner with timely special teams play. This one is going to overtime.

9:58PM – As pointed out by Chris Ostrander (@2ITB_Buffalo), both Tyler Myers and Andrej Sekera suffered drastically-reduced ice time in the third period. And rightfully so.

10:01PM – The 4-on-4 has benefitted Buffalo much more than Winnipeg, with Nathan Gerbe being inches from closing this one out. It would have been a great ending for the Honey Badger after being the box for Bryan Little’s second goal.

10:05PM – it’s not a game-winning goal, but Gerbe getting hooked by Blake Wheeler gave Jason Pominville the power play he needed to win it in overtime. The Captain with a PP and SH goal on the night. It’s 6-5 Sabres after a wild one. Down to Lindy’s press room I go.

10:06PM – Or it was Thomas Vanek’s foot. Either way, Pominville and Vanek are EN FUEGO.

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