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Live from Isles at Sabres

There might be worse places to walk to an arena, but I can't think of any. It's bitter out there.

I was hustling through the wind and cold toward HSBC Arena next to a couple of people from Canada. The one dude said, "My ears don't usually get cold, but they're really freezing now." When folks from The True North think it's cold, it's cold.

No lineup changes for the Sabres, who are again without injured right wing Drew Stafford and have scratched defensemen Craig Rivet and Chris Butler. The goaltenders will be Ryan Miller and Nathan Lawson, who is starting in place of the ill Rick DiPietro. Lawson is 0-3-1 with a 4.62 goals-against average and .885 save percentage.

FIRST PERIOD

7:38 p.m.: Ever feel way behind? I'm there now. Game on. Hopefully they break a couple of panes of glass tonight to slow things down.

7:43 p.m.: Both teams played Thursday night, and through the opening 4:37 it's easy to tell. The speed and energy they had Saturday on Long Island is nowhere to be found so far. The Isles have two shots, the Sabres have one, though Buffalo could've had a goal if Frans Nielsen didn't tie up Nathan Gerbe on a rebound attempt with 1:20 gone.

7:47 p.m.: Isles get the first power play as Steve Montador gets called for tripping with 14:00 left. Shots are 5-1 in New York's favor.

7:49 p.m.: It's four-on-four for 50 seconds as New York's Kyle Okposo takes a hooking call with 12:50 left.

7:50 p.m.: The Isles take a 1-0 lead with 12:34 left as Tyler Myers' troubled times continue. Michael Grabner dumps the puck to the front from behind the Sabres' net, and it struck the skate of Myers and went through Miller's pads. Myers played a season low in minutes Thursday after poorly playing Boston's second goal.

7:54 p.m.: It's 2-0, Miller is in the dressing room and Patrick Lalime is in net. The Isles scored off a faceoff with 9:30 left, as it appeared Matt Moulson tipped a low point shot. It made the shots 10-3, with the Sabres sleeping. Coach Lindy Ruff tapped Lalime for a wake-up call, and Miller angrily headed to the back.

7:56 p.m.: Miller is back on the bench.

7:57 p.m.: Sabres get a power play with 9:12 left after a penalty by Nielsen.

8 p.m.: John Tavares of the Isles just looked up to the scoreboard to see his uncle John Tavares of the Bandits shoot T-shirts into the stands with his lacrosse stick.

8:03 p.m.: The final commercial of the period comes with 5:49 left. Shots are 10-6. Stats guru and numbers maven Mike Haim just informed me that was the earliest Miller has ever been pulled at home.

Applause from the crowd for Air Force Sgt. Philip Tilinghast.

8:08 p.m.: Another penalty to the Isles as Jeremy Colliton goes for holding with 3:43 left.

8:10 p.m.: Left arm save along the goal line by Lawson on Jochen Hecht with 3:01 left keeps it 2-0.

8:15 p.m.: Sabres hit the first intermission with light boos, no applause, a 2-0 deficit and a 10-10 tie in shots.

SECOND PERIOD

8:32 p.m.: Lalime still in net as the teams return. Kevin Poulin replaces Lawson, who was shaken up on the Hecht save but stayed in the game after being attended to by trainers.

8:37 p.m.: Rob Niedermayer still has as many goals as I do after flipping a shot wide of a fallen Poulin with 16:20 to go.

8:40 p.m.: Patrick Kaleta is nowhere to be found for the Sabres.

8:50 p.m.: New York still has a 2-0 lead with 9:49 to go.

8:58 p.m.: The Sabres catch a break courtesy of shoddy sticks. Montador misses the puck on a blue-line pinch, giving a partial breakaway to Nielsen. Just as he went to shoot with 6:21 left, his stick shattered and the puck fluttered away. It's still 2-0.

9:02 p.m.: It's now 3-0. Mike Weber misses Andrej Sekera with a 5-foot pass, and the puck goes to Tavares the hockey player. He quickly feeds PA Parenteau alone in front for an easy goal with 5:25 left.

9:08 p.m.: Mock applause when the announcer said "last minute of play in the period" and a ton of jeers when the period ends with the Sabres in a 3-0 hole and 19-19 shot tie.

THIRD PERIOD

9:26 p.m.: It's still Lalime and Poulin as the puck is dropped.

9:35 p.m.: Isles still lead, 3-0, with 13:32 to go. Shots are 28-21 in favor of the Sabres.

9:49 p.m.: Lalime makes a nice save on Jack Hillen on a wide-open two-on-one, but Hillen gets the rebound and flips it home with 5:27 left to make it 4-0. This place is empty.

10 p.m.: Nathan Gerbe set a Sabres record by scoring twice in five seconds. He scored with 3:22 left and again with 3:17 to go. Sabres call timeout with 52.8 seconds left.

10:02 p.m.: Isles win, 5-2, with empty-net goal as Sabres' two-game winning streak ends.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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