Didn't I just see these teams? Twice?
This is the third meeting in 20 days between the teams, who aren't even in the same division. In fact, after tonight the Sabres will have played the Isles more times than their Northeast Division rivals combined (they faced Toronto and Montreal once).
Martin Biron is back in net for the Isles after shutting out the Sabres on Saturday, while Ryan Miller looks for redemption after getting pulled in the second period of the 5-0 loss. Jhonas Enroth is backing up Miller with Patrick Lalime sidelined by a groin injury.
Once again, I'm a fan of the arena audio personnel, who started the night with Pearl Jam, added in the Foo Fighters (whose Greatest Hits album is out) and just played the Black Eyed Peas. Tonight's gonna be a good night, indeed.
Well, maybe not for Nathan Paetsch, Adam Mair and Toni Lydman. They are scratched for the Sabres.
7:08 p.m.: Looks like the smallest crowd of the season has gathered, with half-sections empty in the corners. Game on.
7:15 p.m.: Feel bad for the folks who had to wait for the whistle to get to their seats. It didn't come until 6:36 had elapsed. Lots of time gone, not much action. Teams are a little off with their passing, resulting in neutral-zone play.
7:16 p.m.: One of the best rules is the one that forces a team to keep its players in the game if they ice the puck. It always generates more offense, as just happened with the Sabres getting a few chances on Biron. No score, with 12:25 to go.
7:22 p.m.: I wish my predictions about meeting good-looking women and making money came true as often as my hockey predictions. As I guessed Monday, Derek Roy scored his first of the season tonight. The power-play goal came with 11:33 gone to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Thomas Vanek screened Biron, and Roy ripped a high shot just inside the post.
7:25 p.m.: Biron gets the crowd buzzing by leaving the crease to go after Patrick Kaleta. Kaleta got dropped near the New York bench, then made a beeline for Frans Nielsen. Kaleta hit the center into Biron, and the goalie went after Kaleta and wrapped him up until the officials sent Kaleta to the box with 8:50 left.
7:30 p.m.: Action is picking up after a slow start. Islanders have an 8-6 shot advantage with 5:56 to go.
7:37 p.m.: Sabres have a five-on-three for 27 seconds.
7:41 p.m.: First period ends with the Sabres holding a 1-0 lead and 14-8 shot advantage. Isles kill their run of penalties, though they get help when Craig Rivet shoots wide with Biron down.
7:50 p.m.: Was just handed my copy of the Sabres' 2009-10 yearbook by media relations guru Kevin Snow, who says fans can get their copies now for $10.
7:59 p.m.: Songs by Miley Cyrus and Nickelback fade out as the second period starts.
8:02 p.m.: Three shots by the Sabres and one song by Guns N' Roses with three minutes gone.
8:07 p.m.: The Sabres have a 9-2 shot edge with 13:18 to go, and it could be more if Jochen Hecht and Vanek hadn't fired wide from close range.
8:12 p.m.: Andrej Sekera's cross-check gives the Isles the power play with 11:56 left.
8:15 p.m.: Ryan Miller stops Josh Bailey then getes help when Doug Weight shoots wide. Sekera gets the puck coming out of the box and forces Biron to make a tough stop with 9:45 to go.
8:22 p.m.: Vanek skates between two Islanders defenders to set up Drew Stafford, but the right winger can't connect with 5:52 left. Still 1-0 Sabres.
8:29 p.m.: Sabres Edge legend Sean Bergenheim helps Buffalo take a 2-0 lead on the power play with 2:47 to go. Stafford sends a no-look pass through the crease to Vanek, who misses it. Bergenheim, though, bounces the puck off Biron's pad while rushing to help, and Vanek doesn't miss the rebound.
8:33 p.m.: End of an impressive second period for the Sabres, who have a 2-0 lead and 29-15 shot edge.
8:36 p.m.: Kudos now to both the video and audio folks. The World Series is on the scoreboard during intermission.
8:50 p.m.: The World Series is off because the hockey game is back on.
9 p.m.: The Isles are the better team through the first 6:26 of the third, holding a 6-0 shot edge. Miller still has his shutout going.
9:19 p.m.: It's soon to be determined if the Sabres have a 3-0 lead. Paul Gaustad may have slid the puck over the goal line during a scrum, and the refs are reviewing the video with 3:41 to go.
9:23 p.m.: Goal by Gaustad. The Sabres have a 3-0 lead and are on their way to a 9-2-1 record. Shots are 10-9 in Sabres' edge after slow start.
9:27 p.m.: Sabres win, with the teams scuffling in the corner with 7.3 seconds to go. That's what happens with three meetings in such a short period of time.