After a marathon day of trade talk, let's not forget there's actually a huge game tonight in HSBC Arena as the Montreal Canadiens are in town. And while there are hardly any tickets left for the next two home games against Phoenix and Florida, there are going to be plenty of empties in the 300 corners because tonight is a Gold game ($58-$173). Boo.
It's been one crazy day, with both Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier saying they think the NHL should suspend play for all teams on deadline day. There's only one other game tonight (Detroit at Colorado). Regier pointed out the Sabres won't have the player they acquired (Dominic Moore) but everyone else will get their newcomers tomorrow. Said Ruff, as the media swarmed him this morning: "Just look around. There's a little bit of a circus atmosphere. You try to get them focused but it isn't a normal day for anybody."
The Sabres are scratching Chris Butler, Matt Ellis, Nathan Paetsch and Andrew Peters. Teppo Numminen is back on defense in the Buffalo lineup after being a healthy scratch for four straight games. Said Ruff this morning: "For the most part, he's played pretty well. In some games, there's been some fatigue in his game but we want to see what he can do after missing a period of time."
In the wake of the trade of Ales Kotalik, the line combinations should be interesting.
It's Patrick Lalime vs. Carey Price in goal with a deadline-busting faceoff of 7:40 because of the TSN telecast across Canada that is being picked up in the US by the NHL Network (MSG is carrying the game locally as normal).
13:50 left: The power play is working fast tonight. Gaustad makes it 4-0 with a beautiful tip of a Rivet shot from the point, just 11 seconds after Komisarek went off for tripping.
9:11 left: Connolly goes off for tripping. Really all that's left in this one is to see if Lalime gets his first shutout of the season. This will be his third win of the year -- but his first as a Sabre at home. The others were Oct. 11 on Long Island and Dec. 13 at New Jersey.
8:57 left: The penalty killers work fast too. The "Goose" calls are out as Gaustad pulls away and burns Price with a nifty backhander on a breakaway to make it 5-0.
End of the game: Lalime lost his shutout with 1:06 left on a goal by Tomas Plekanac but the Sabres cruise to a 5-1 win. Lalime made a season-high 38 saves as Montreal finished with a 39-27 edge in shots.
17:01 left: The Sabres killed the Vanek penalty and go up 2-0 as Roy gets his second of the net, ripping home a quick one-timer from the slot after Paille intercepted a lazy clearing pass in the left corner and whipped the puck in front.
10:53 left: Huge play from Spacek makes it 3-0 as he faked out Patrice Brisebois to get in alone and whistled a slapshot low to the far post past Price. Great pressure by Kaleta forced the turnover that gave Spacek the puck.
8:15 left: Lalime held firm in this one until the Sabres found their legs -- and, perhaps, got over their Deadline Day fog. Where once shots are 18-3 for the Habs, the margin is only now 23-18.
End of the 2nd: The Sabres hold their 3-0 lead through two and are in complete control. They're outskating and outhitting the Habs and Montreal is giving the puck away all over the ice. Solid performance for the last 27 minutes. Shots are 26-20 for Montreal (10-8 for Buffalo in the 2nd).
13:31 left: A wild start with shots at 8-2 for the Canadiens. Buffalo Matt D'Agostini's rebound was right on the goal line just before the last whistle but was scooped out of the net by Toni Lydman before it crossed the line. The Sabres have killed off one penalty, a brutal interference call on Gaustad at 35 seconds after he crushed Alex Kovalev with a clean check. Kovalev had just lost the puck and was drilled along the boards and he can't be hit. Terrible. Montreal is 11 for 25 on the power play the last six games so the Buffalo PK unit has to be strong here.
12:10 left: Roy goes off for tripping. Another ticky-tack call as Maxim Lapierre barely even goes down to a knee.
10:00 left: Another penalty killed off. Lalime has been strong to this point as shots are 12-2. As for the lines, they look like this: Vanek-Connolly-Stafford, Hecht-Gaustad-Pominville, MacArthur-Roy-Afinogenov (who's he?) and Paille-Mair-Kaleta.
7:16 left: Sekera off for tripping Kovalev on a breakaway and the Sabres got a break there. Could have been a penalty shot easily if Kovalev had not gotten his shot off.
4:48 left: Mike Komisarek makes two saves in the crease with Price out of position after getting whacked by Paille.
2:25 left: Pressured behind the net by Gaustad, Mathieu Schneider goes off for delay of game for flipping the puck over the glass.
2:07 left: It takes all of 18 seconds for Roy to convert the rebound of a shot whiffed on by Spacek by using a quick backhand. Great diagonal pass from Connolly to Spacek. Roy's 23rd. Once down in shots, 18-3, the Sabres have taken the game's last five.
16.1 seconds left: Vanek goes off for cross-checking. Habs' fourth power play. Eventually, you have to believe they're going to connect.
End of the first: There will be 1:44 left on the Vanek penalty. Shots were 18-10 for Montreal but Buffalo had the last seven.
taggedSabres game day