Wow tonight’s game is way past my bedtime. I am going to DVR it and watch it Friday morning. Check out the pre-game notes here.
We’ve got Ryan Miller and Antero Nittymaki in net tonight. Butler, Kaleta, and Gerbe are the scratches. Craig Rivet will again be the 7th defenseman. No Rick Jeanneret tonight as he is not along with the team on this 3 game road trip. Kevin Sylvester, Harry Neale and Rob Ray have the play by play.
Defense: Sekera-Myers, Weber-Morrisonn, Leopold-Montador, Rivet
Andrej Sekera sends a ripper over the net! Shaone Morrisonn destroys Devin Setoguchi at the blue line and gets to go sit down by himself for 2 minutes. Interference, as the Sharks go on the power play. Scott Nichol is out there for San Jose. Nichol played for the Rochester Amerks during their 1995-96 Calder Cup winning season. As usual there’s plenty of Sabres fans in attendance here in San Jose.
The Penalty kill is successful as we see Craig Rivet out on the rink for the first time. Torrey Mitchell repays the favor as he trips up Morrisonn and sends Buffalo to the man advantage. Jordan leopold tosses the puck in, Nittymaki doesn’t see it and it deflects off his chest and wide. Drew Stafford throws a bad angle wrister on net; save Nittymaki and vanek ends up in the net courtesy of a Sharks defenseman. Luke Adam posts up in front of the net and mixes it up with Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray. Dany Heatley clears the puck, Sekera brings it back the length of the ice and gets hooked by Joe Thornton while crossing the blue line. 5 on 3 advantage for 12 seconds. Patrick Marleau brings the puck in shorthanded, passes across to Jamal Mayers who wrists a quick one from the high slot; save Miller! Penalty on Drew Stafford for hooking. ‘We’ve got more hooks than a tackle box’ says Kevin Sylvester.
Mike Grier steals a pass & directs it to Tyler Myers who makes nothing of the opportunity. At the other end, the puck gets thru Miller; there’s a scramble and Mike Grier clears the puck down the rink. They’re back! Joe Thornton is slapping away at the puck as Miller tries to cover it. Tyler Myers eventually clears the puck.
Mike Weber gets things started and takes a center ice RUN at Logan Couture. Ryan Clowe returns the favor as he rams Weber into the end boards and challenges the Sabres D-man to a fight. Weber accepts and the two dance. Clowe gets the better of the action and the two go sit for 5 minutes each. The HP Pavilion fans are awoken by the fisticuffs. Unfortunately for them it will be one of few opportunities to clap for the home team.
Rob Niedermayer brings the puck up, passes to Cody McCormick who drills a shot on net; save Nittymaki, but there’s a rebound. Luke Adam & Niedermayer crash the net and the Sabres are rewarded as Luke Adam slides a backhand past Nittymaki into the net. 1-0 Sabres. The goal is Adam’s 3rd of the season.
Nittymaki is giving up lots of rebounds today. he looks quite shaky; apparently it’s his first start in quite some time. Shaone Morrisonn throws a shoulder into McGinn behind the Sabres net. Tyler Ennis with some fancy stickwork until Joe Thornton comes up with some good defense. Montador loses the puck while breaking out and Demers gets off a shot; save Miller but there’s a rebound with a wide open net. The Sharks fail to capitalize on the open net as the puck is cleared. Jamie McGinn fans on a one-timer attempt in the slot.
I am a huge fan of the Sabres white jerseys with the big logo on the crest. It’s the way it should be.
PING!!! Rivet rrrriiiiippss one off the post from the point. Sharks at the other end with heavy traffic around Miller. Mike Grier has a little blood on his sock so he must go to the bench & get that taken care of. Jochen Hecht fighting on the half-wall brings it into the slot and wrists a shot right under the arm of Antero Nittymaki. 2-0 Buffalo!
Thomas Vanek does a gymnastics move to stay onsides but fails and the whistle blows. Montador takes a high stick penalty but the PK is short lived as Boyle takes a holding the stick penalty. We’ll play 4 on 4 for a couple minutes.
‘It’s like the end of the month with speeding tickets here’ – Kevin Sylvester.
Period one ends with the Sabres in the lead 2-0.
4 on 4 for a few seconds to start. Matt Demers with a surprising spin shot on Miller. Marleau-Heatley-Thornton are dominating the Sabres down low with a good cycle. Heatley tips a shot on net; pad save Miller! Mike Grier is tripped by Dan Boyle who sits down for the second time tonight. Scott Nichol steals the puck from Ryan Miller with the net vacated but none of his friends are around so nothing comes of it.
Tyler Myers-> over to Jordan leopold-> down low to Stafford-> to the slot to Thomas V-> IN NET. 3-0 Sabres! Vanek’s 16th of the year. It’s a Power Play Goal!
Jordan Leopold with a long shot on Nittymaki. Jamal Mayers & Paul Gaustad discuss dinner plans in the crease. Steve Montador falls and almost gives away a breakaway. The puck is taking weird bounces off the partitions here in HP Pavilion. Ryan Miller with a huge save on a Benn Ferriero backhand! Mike Weber mauls Scott Nichol at the blue line. Douglas Murray point shot, save Miller. Jason Pominville brings the puck in 3 on 2, drops it to Tim Connolly who wrists a rocket over the net.
The big line of Heatley-Marleau-Thornton are dominating down low again. Jochen Hecht trips up a Shark and goes to the penalty box to feel shame for 2 minutes. Rob Niedermayer with a good puck clear; follows it all the way down the rink and pins it down along the SJ endboards. Great job by Rob Niedermayer on the PK.
Sekera is tripped up; no call. The whistle blows to end the 2nd period and the Sharks get booooed off the rink by their own fans. 3-0 Buffalo. The Sharks led 13-5 in shots in period two.
Mike Weber steps up at the Blue line, BAM! Vanek steals the puck at center and passes to J Pominville who gets off a weak shot. Thomas Vanek can’t handle a backhand attempt. Mike Grier throws the puck out of the rink and gets a 2 min penalty for delay of game. Demers with a point shot, heatley Tip on net; Brilliant save Miller! Heatley fires a wicked slapper; save Miller. The Sharks are pouring it on as Demers fires a shot from the point. Ryan Clowe chugs down the wing and Marleau gets a good chance on Miller. Ferriero breaks his stick on a point shot attempt.
Thomas Vanek is on a dead breakaway; winds up and blasts one that Nittymaki deflects wide. Hecht carries the puck across the blue line slides quickly across to Ennis who snaps a quick wrister on Nittymaki. It’s a hit parade! Nichol on Morrisonn behind the Sabres net, Morrisonn destroys Couture along the boards, and then Weber goes after Nichol in the corner. Wooooooo!!!!
Wallin breaks a stick at the point while attempting a slap shot. Paul Gaustad in front, puck goes wide. Demers with a great hipcheck on Rob Niedermayer as Niedermayer goes flying!
Game Over! 3-0 Sabres. Lindy Ruff gets his 500th win and Ryan Miller gets the shutout.
What I didn’t like:
1) Once the Sabres got the lead they allowed tons of shots and pressure by San Jose. The Sabres were outshot 13-5 and 11-5 in the 2nd and 3rd periods.
2) The Sabres should have gotten more goals with Nittymaki playing so poorly
What I liked:
1) Luke Adam is a menace in front. Drafting bigger players is finally paying off for this organization.
2) The Sabres played ‘Smart’ today. They didn’t give up many odd-man rushes and they played well in their own zone. Ryan Miller still had to make a bunch of saves but that’s why he’s paid $6.25M per season.
3) Ryan Miller was stellar yet again. The shutout was well earned, stopping 36 shots including a few from Dany Heatley who is usually Miller’s nemesis.
For WGR’s game recap click here.
For NHL.com game recap click here.
Next Game: Saturday @ Phoenix, 8pm ET