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Live from Sabres at Phoenix

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Greetings from the amazing desert, where we'll get to more about mountain climbing, Buffalo transplants and Twitter when I get caught up with the Sabres Notebook and other matters, but first some breaking news as the Sabres and Coyotes take the ice. The Coyotes are going with backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera rather than Ilya Bryzgalov, who was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season.

Bryzgalov missed the Coyotes' previous game for personal matters but was expected to play tonight. Instead, he's backing up LaBarbera, who shut out Colorado on Thursday.

More when the puck drops.

FIRST PERIOD

8:01 p.m.: Lineup sheet is out, with the Sabres making a swith. Mike Weber is out and Chris Butler is in. Nathan Gerbe is the healthy scratch, while Patrick Kaleta is out with his hand/wrist injury. Butler hasn't played since Dec. 18. Weber practiced Friday.

8:06 p.m.: The start of the game will be delayed briefly as the Coyotes salute defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who recently played his 1,000th game. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who was Jovanovski's assistant coach in Florida, came out early to watch the ceremony while the Sabres stayed in the dressing room for most of it.

8:12 p.m.: Strong national anthem sung by Michael Wieser, who is a season-ticket holder. I guess that's one way to market hockey in the desert -- buy tickets, sing the anthem! Really, though, he was good. There will be a lot of noise for the Sabres --- puck drops and "Let's Go, Buffalo!" roars through.

There are a lot of Western New York transplants in the house, including good friends Tom and Tracy Doody, Jason Bohen, Sue Borczynski, Kim Lawrence and her fiance, Tony. Looking forward to a fast game so I can join them for sodas. Ha! Actually, a fast game would be good for deadlines, too.

8:20 p.m.: Wish granted early. Game is flying with few whistles. It's 0-0 with 14:39 left.

8:21 p.m.: Blue and Gold really took over the arena area this afternoon from all the blue and orange, and green, yellow and neon lime that Auburn and Oregon wear. Still a lot of that, too.

8:23 p.m.: First commercial comes with 13:09 left, score at 0-0 and the Sabres holding a 3-1 shot edge. So I wore an Auburn hat this afternoon while Tom and I climbed Camelback Mountain, and it got a lot of "War Eagle" shouts from the other climbers. And, man, was that mountain packed. There were more people on it today than the two other times I reached the summit combined (and then some). Very nice day for it, though, with sun blazing and temps in the high 50s. You work up a sweat, so that was perfect.

8:26 p.m.: Coyotes get the first power play, with Jason Pominville off for hooking with 12:05 left.

8:28 p.m.: Sabres kill the infraction with only one shot allowed.

8:34 p.m.: "Goooose" chant echoes as Paul Gaustad works the puck below the goal line with 6:52 left. No score. Shots are 5-2 Buffalo. 

8:37 p.m.: The Sabres get a power play with 4:40 left as Phoenix captain Shane Doan heads to the box. Shots are 6-4 for Buffalo. Just heard Seattle beat New Orleans.

8:39 p.m.: A Phoenix fan named Kasandra just got engaged on the Kiss Cam (hi RC).

8:41 p.m.: LaBarbera stops Andrej Sekera and Jason Pominville to help kill the penalty.

8:45 p.m.: Solid pressure by the Sabres, but the teams hit intermission scoreless. The Sabres hold a 13-6 edge in shots.

SECOND PERIOD

9:03 p.m.: And they're back. Some goals would be nice to allow me to get some running to have a story possibly ready by 10:20 deadline. Good thing Saturday nights are the latest deadlines of the week.

9:06 p.m.: Nice save by LaBarbera on Shaone Morrisonn with 18 minutes left.

9:10 p.m.: Still no score with 15:01 to go. Sabres' shot edge cut to 16-10.

9:13 p.m.: the Sabres head to the first commercial with a power play upcoming, with the Coyotes' Wojtek Wolski earning a tripping call with 13:34 left. So Doody and I hit the daily double today, with post-hiking lunch at my favorite restaurant in North America, The Mission in Scottsdale. As always, ridiculously good. Quality custom-made guacamole, decent mango and jimaca salad and fantastic pork shoulder tacos.

9:15 p.m.: The Sabres score just eight seconds in the power play. Jordan Leopold gets his career-high 10th goal, firing from the point through Thomas Vanek's screen with 13:26 to go.

9:17 p.m.: Miller keeps it 1-0 with a great golve save on a wide-open Shane Doan with 12:57 left.

9:22 p.m.: The Coyotes will return from the second commercial with a power play. Luke Adam is called for tripping with 9:35 left. The Sabres' shot edge has been trimmed to 19-18.

9:27 p.m.: Hard-charging Coyotes tie the game with 7:29 to go, just after Adam's penalty expires. Adrian Aucoin's shot from the point bounces off Miller's pad directly to Scottie Upshall, who buries it into an open net. Coyotes take a 20-19 shot edge.

9:29 p.m.: The Sabres head into the final commercial tied, 1-1, with 5:40 left. Phoenix now has a 22-19 shot edge.

9:38 p.m.: The Sabres limp into the dressing room still tied at 1-1. The Coyotes took 19 of the period's 26 shots.

THIRD PERIOD

9:54 p.m.: The Sabres are 4-1-4 when tied after two periods. The Coyotes are 1-1-3.

10:01 p.m.: Big rise from the crowd of 13,905 as Mike Grier buries Doan with 15 minutes left. It's still tied.

10:07 p.m.: It's still 1-1 with 11:48 left. Shots are 29-24, Phoenix. I can tell already because of the time crunch my Twitter story will have to wait till another game, unfortunately.

10:11 p.m.: Solid scoring chances by the line of Drew Stafford, Jochen Hecht and Tyler Ennis, but it remains 1-1 with 8:48 to go.

10:16 p.m.: Leopold goes for hooking with 6:48 to go.

10:22 p.m.: Butler heads to the penalty box with 2:36 after getting a high-sticking call. The Coyotes hold a 32-28 shot edge in the 1-1 game.

10:27 p.m.: It's off to overtime, 1-1. Shots still 32-28.

OVERTIME

10:29 p.m.: So long, first edition. Hello, OT.

11:21 p.m.: Oooops, Stafford scores with 1:48 left to give Sabres a 2-1 win.

---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 | [email protected]

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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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