Greetings from HSBC Arena as the Sabres face the Hamilton Steelheads in their first ever visit to Buffalo since moving from .... oops. Didn't happen. Still the Phoenix Coyotes in town. Never mind. But they are the unbeaten and now-Wayne Gretzky-less Coyotes as new coach Dave Tippett has them off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2004.
A shout out to the Sabres' game staff from this Inside Pitch blogger for putting the end of the riveting Phillies-Rockies playoff game on the HD board prior to the warmup instead of the usual Sabres classic footage (which is always entertaining too). Folks then saw Matt Holliday's home run for the Cardinals in LA before the hockey teams took to the ice and warmups went up on the board. Nice.
Ilya Bryzgalov got the shutout for Phoenix last night in Pittsburgh so Jason LaBarbera will start in goal for the visitors tonight. Ryan Miller for the Sabres (Patrick Lalime Saturday in Nashville? You wonder).
Live updates to come.
18:05 left: Gaustad goes for slashing. The Coyotes are 0 for 2 with three shots on the PP so far.
17:23 left: The Coyotes convert as Matthew Lombardi tips home a perfect pass in the slot from Adrian Aucoin to make it 1-0. Watch the visitors sit back now and protect the lead and try for their second shutout in two nights.
15:46 left: Never mind. GREAT play by Myers to keep the puck in and feed McArthur, who scores on the backhand to make it 1-1. Myers, however, was lying in a crumpled heap on the ice as he was wiped out by Shane Doan. Looked like Myers hit his head on the ice as his helmet came off just as he was going down.
13:37 left: Repeating: Kaleta is in the Coyotes' heads. Upshall just got a four-minute high sticking penalty for going after him when a whistle was blown. Sabres have to take advantage of such stupidity.
9:23 left: HORRIBLE move by the game staff. They just showed the Kaleta-Prucha hit again on the HD board as the collision of the night, sponsored by your prominent local collision shop. Several Phoenix players were looking at the board and barking about it. No class move by the folks here. And a good way to fire up the opponent in a 1-1 game. Think about the game, people. Not your stupid little videos and promotions.
8:18 left: Great save by Miller stopping a Vrbata tip-in. Shots are 7-3 this period and 37-21 for the game.
5:47 left: Another stupid Phoenix penalty as Vandermeer drills Vanek to the boards with a cross check from behind in back of the Coyotes net. Sabres HAVE to convert on one of these, right?
3:53 left: Finally, the PP converts as Vanek bangs one home from the slot to make it 2-1. Great feed from the corner by MacArthur after a quick touch pass from Roy.
1:00 left: LaBarbera is out.
Sabres survive: A 2-1 win after a couple close calls in the final 30 seconds. Final shots were 39-24.
19:28 left: This one just heated up as Kaleta destroyed Petr Prucha along the boards near the Buffalo bench and Martin Hanzal jumped in to battled the Buffalo winger. Looked like a clean hit. Ed Jovanovski jawed at Kaleta as he headed to the box. Hanzal gets four exta minutes (roughing, instigating) and a 10-minute misconduct. They both get five. So it's a four-minute power play for Buffalo.
14:03 left: The Sabres got six shots on the PP after a rough opening minute but LaBarbera made great saves on Stafford and Myers. Shortly after the penalty ended, Miller made his best stop of the night on Radim Vrbata's one-timer from in front. The Sabres have doubled Phoenix in the shot column, 22-11. That's 57 shots in the first 1 1/2 games -- and just one goal.
12:51 left: Montador loses the puck in the neutal zone and has to take a hooking penalty. Phoenix to the PP for the first time.
11:18 left: Tripping call on Tallinder leave Buffalo two men short for 28 seconds.
8:58 left: Sabres kill it off. Good work by Connolly-Butler-Rivet to start and then Grier when it became a 5-on-4.
2:53 left: James Vandermeer takes a silly roughing penalty for Phoenix with an after-the-whistle shove of Kaleta, who's clearly inside the Coyotes' heads. Would be nice, of course, if the power play would convert on one of these chances.
End-2nd: No score through 40 minutes. Sabres had a 17-10 edge in shots and it's 30-18 through two. It was a wild final two minutes as a video review of a potential Buffalo goal showed Bill McCreary had blown his whislte and then Miller had to stop Vandermeer coming out of the box. Drew Stafford has six shots on goal in the game and Derek Roy has four. But no goals. The Sabres are 0 for 4 on the power play with 11 shots on goal with the man advantage.
13:29 left: No score as each team has one shot on goal. The Coyotes had the best chance but Miller neatly stopped Scottie Upshall's redirection from just off the crease. No changes in the lines for the Sabres. Kaleta-Ellis-Stafford were the starters. They were followed by Vanek-Roy-Connolly, MacArthur-Kennedy-Pominville and Hecht-Gaustad-Grier. Defense pairs were Butler-Rivet, Montador-Sekera and Tallinder-Myers.
8:30 left: So much for that track meet Lindy Ruff talked about after today's morning skate. The Sabres have a 6-5 edge in shots but had just two in the first 11 minutes. The third and fourth lines have easily been their best. A sprawled-on-his-belly LaBarbera just made a dynamite save on Stafford with his left toe from point-blank range to keep the game scoreless. The Roy and Kennedy lines have generated nothing.
4:50 left: The second line gets a great chance as MacArthur is stopped from in tight after a beautiful feather pass from Kennedy. The kid can really pass the puck. Shots are 10-7 for Buffalo.
4:23 left: I protest the heavily advertised "concession special" on the HD board: a hot dog, chips and souvenir soda all for the low, low price of ..... $9.25?? Yeesh.
2:17 left: Super glove save by Miller on a rising slapper from Upshall. Came a few seconds after Stafford dipsy-dooed too much in front of the Phoenix net and got checked. Fire it, dude.
End of the 1st: No score as Buffalo has a 13-8 edge in shots. Sabres had too many turnovers and too many poor passes over the first 12 minutes. Much better in that area over the final eight. The Roy line continues to overpass and I would imagine Ruff might do some shuffling with that trio if this keeps up. They blew a 3-on-2 in the final minute with overpassing but Butler followed the play and took a loose puck for a good scoring chance. The Coyotes won 11 of 16 faceoffs in the period; Gaustad went 3-1 while the rest of the team went 2-10.
taggedColleges, minors | Sabres game day