Friday, April 3, 2009

Sneaky Sabres Still in the Race: Buffalo 5 - Capitals 4

The Buffalo Sabres entered the red-rockin' Phone Booth tonight with their playoff hopes on the line. They came out with a vengeance (not to borrow the Flyers' lame tagline or anything) and got on the board twice in the first period against rookie net minder Simeon Varlamov.

But they also neglected to read the memo about giving the Caps power play opportunities and the men in red retaliated with three power play goals - one in the first and two in the second. One of those three tallies included a Russian rocket from just beyond the blue line from Sergei Fedorov, who moved up to the first line in this game. The other two goals came from the two Alexs: Ovechkin (probably still ramped from his meeting with NBA superstar LeBron "King" James last night) and his pal Alex Semin. Fedorov lit the lamp for a second time in the third period on a wicked even strength goal and gave the home team a 4-3 lead.

The Sabres played a physical game but took some serious penalties - at one point in the second there were three Buffalo players in the sin bin! Reminded me of one our last Pee Wee games where there were five kids in the box at once. And man was big boy Jeff Schultz throwing that humongous frame of his around - he had some sweet hits against the boards. And nice move in the third, throwing himself in front of the Sabres' Maxim Afinogenov's shot that would have been a certain goal! Afinogenov was fit to be tied after the guys in stripes negated his goal which would have tied it up - as he made incidental contact with Varlamov.

Ovie took a seat midway through the third, much to the loud disapproval of the Caps' faithful, after he was bogusly called for goalie interference after sliding into Ryan Miller at full speed. Miller proceeded to duke Ovie in the mouth with his blocker, which in my humble opinion should have drawn a penalty as well. Afinogenov tied the game again at 4-4 in third.

This hard-hitting, high-scoring matchup went into OT at 4-4. That's where Buffalo's Jason Pomminville took advantage of an errant pass (from Feds of all people) and quickly took it to the net against Varly and the Caps to capture the win and stay in the playoff race.

HM will never hear the end of this one as one of the boys' Spring hockey coaches is THE biggest Sabres fan I've ever met. Despite the loss, it was a great effort on the part of the home team where there was some science experimenting going on with the lines. So the the guys earn their second consecutive Southeastern Conference title (faint clink of champagne glass in the background) and will meet the Atlanta Thrashers (who've been thrashing their opponents of late) on Sunday in the Caps' last regular season game on home ice.

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