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TBN Video: Recapping Deadline Day

So what went into the Sabres' thinking about getting Brad Boyes and keeping Tim Connolly? Why were things so quiet around the NHL on deadline day? What were some of the best moves?

Mike Harrington and Bucky Gleason have these and other answers in this recap of the NHL's annual swap meet.

TBN Video: Regier calls deadline day 'Considerably quieter this year'

There were very few sellers, lots of buyers and too many high prices for a lot of deals at this year's trade deadline. That was the analysis today from Sabres general manager Darcy Regier, who met the media in the HSBC Arena atrium before boarding the team's flight for New York.

Here's the video of the session, as Regier talks about what happened in the league, why the Sabres kept embattled center Tim Connolly and how much input new owner Terry Pegula had on the team's transaction options.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Rangers lose Biron to practice injury

The Sabres will certainly see Henrik Lundqvist in goal Tuesday night in New York but the Rangers are suddenly thin at that position. The Blueshirts have just tweeted that old friend Marty Biron is out indefinitely with a fractured collarbone suffered today at practice. Ouch. Larry Brooks of the New York Post is reporting Biron will be out at least the rest of the regular season.

Talk about bad timing. There were plenty of backup goalies, notably Ty Conklin, on the waiver wire that could have been scooped up that went unclaimed and the team, of course, didn't make a deal for one because it didn't have a need. Or so it thought. Instead, the Rangers are calling up Cam Talbot from Connecticut of the AHL.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Boyes excited for playoff run close to home

Just got off the phone with Brad Boyes, who is in Buffalo and planned to meet with the doctors quickly for a physical and then join the team for its flight to New York. The Toronto-area native is excited to make the move from St. Louis to a Sabres team that is just two points out of a playoff spot.

"Oh, yeah, big-time," Boyes said. "It’s even more so after talking to family and all my friends and stuff. They’re an hour away now. That part’s pretty cool for me, being able to be so close to home. That part aside, I’m looking forward to getting to a team that’s going to be in the playoffs, that plays the way that they do and in city that -- they love their hockey here.

"This is my sixth season, and I’ve been to the playoffs once, which that was a sweep. It was going from junior where we ended up winning it and in the minors we had long runs, and then coming up here you realize how hard it is to make the playoffs, and from there just to go further it’s very tough. This gives me that chance and opportunity to get back in there and do what we can. It’s the best feeling, the best hockey. The best time of year is playoff time, so I can’t wait to get back in there."

The former 43-goal scorer is pleased to join a team that tries to play an up-tempo style.

"It’s definitely a lot more my style than it was in St. Louis," he said. "That’s good. If guys have skill and talent, let them use them. It’s important to let guys do that because that’s the reason they got here in the first place."

Boyes was a teammate with Tim Connolly in juniors and will start out as the center's linemate.

"I just remember him having the greatest set of hands I’ve ever seen at that point," Boyes said. "He was awesome. I came to Erie as a 16-year-old and he was there at 17. He was a guy that took me in right away, took care of me, looked after me. I was kind of wide-eyed after moving away from home and stuff like that. He was just a lot more mature beyond his years at that point, I think, which was something that was good for me, someone that I could look up to.

"Besides that, his hockey skills were something I’ve never seen before. Stuff he was doing at 17 years old, putting pucks through his skates and all this stuff, it was crazy. I remember when we got to play together we had a lot of success, and it was awesome. I’m pumped about this now."

This is the fourth time time Boyes has been traded, and the experiences should help him as he tries to fit in with the Sabres immediately.

"The biggest thing is now that I’m older, a little more mature, I’ve got a little more experience, I’ll come in and know a couple guys," Boyes said. "At the same time, I know I don’t want to be just sitting back and waiting for something to happen and just kind of look around and seem nervous in a new surrounding. Now it’s step to the forefront. I know that I’ve been brought in to help with this playoff push, and that’s what I plan to do starting tomorrow night."

---John Vogl

Darcy speaks as deadline passes

Darcy Regier recapped a quiet trade day with the media just minutes after the 3 p.m. deadline passed. Hear the Sabres' general manager speak about the lack of league-wide moves, the acquisition of Brad Boyes, the decision to keep center Tim Connolly and more by clicking the audio file below.

---John Vogl


Hear today's audio: Ruff to pair Boyes with Connolly

The Sabres have completed practice in Amherst and Darcy Regier will speak to the media shortly after 3 p.m. in HSBC Arena. It appears Tim Connolly is staying put as Lindy Ruff told us that newly acquired Brad Boyes will be put on the wing on a line with Connolly, his former junior teammate, for Tuesday night's game in New York.

"We really feel we've got a guy that can help one of our power-play units," Ruff said. "He's a good two-way player that offensively should help us , make us stronger through those top nine players. ... He's great at getting pucks to the net, he's got a niftyness down from the top of the circles and creates his own chances at times."

Boyes played with Tim Connolly with the OHL's Erie Otters in 1998 and Ruff said he's likely to put Boyes on a line with his ex-junior teammate. Ruff confirmed what Darcy Regier said Saturday that he does not expect Connolly to be moved.

"That's what I've always wanted to do: Stay in Buffalo and try to have an opportunity to win a Cup here," Connolly said. "First and foremost, we've got to try to make the playoffs. That's our main goal. The addition of Boyes will help us down the stretch here."

Ruff said he had no status report on Jordan Leopold, who missed practice with an upper-body injury that kept him out of Saturday's game. Ruff said Leopold will be examined later today by team doctors. Ruff was hoping Boyes could meet the team here before they go to New York but it's likely he will go right to the Big Apple. Ruff said Boyes, who played last night in Calgary, may not take the morning skate tomorrow.

Here's audio from Ruff, Connolly and Thomas Vanek on the deal:


Lindy Ruff


Tim Connolly


Thomas Vanek

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

 

Goalies staying, going

Trades are quiet so far with less than three hours to the deadline, but there have been a few goalie transactions. None involve the Sabres.

*Detroit has given netminder Jimmy Howard a two-year contract extension worth $2.25 million per year.

*Curtis McElhinney is off to this third team in a matter of weeks. Anaheim traded him to Tampa Bay, which put him on waivers over the weekend. The Ottawa Senators claimed him at noon.

*In a bit of a surprise, no one claimed former Sabres netminder Ty Conklin off waivers.

---John Vogl

NHL trade deadline live chat with Bucky Gleason

Boyes' lone fight: Check out the opponent

Brad Boyes is here to score goals and that's obvious. The one fight in his NHL career: Feb. 1, 2007 at the TD Garden -- a beatdown of former Sabres defenseman Toni Lydman. Check it out:

 

(And thanks to folks on Twitter to send me this via @BNHarrington)

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Practice under way: Leopold the only absentee

Live from the Northtown Center in Amherst, the Sabres are on the ice for just another day of practice. Of course, it's not just another day. The NHL trade deadline is rapidly approaching at 3 p.m.

First things first: Tim Connolly and Steve Montador ARE both on the ice for practice. Brad Boyes is not; he'll be meeting the team in New York.

The only player missing is Jordan Leopold and he's not involved in any trade issues, as he missed Saturday's game with what the team termed an upper-body injury. No word on the severity of that. We'll have to wait to talk to Lindy Ruff after today's workout; Saturday night, Ruff tried to give the impression it was the flu. Nope.

The lines are Vanek-Connolly-Pominville; Ennis-Hecht-Stafford, Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta and Niedermayer-McCormick-Grier. The defense pairs are Myers-Butler; Montador-Sekera and Weber-Morrisonn.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

The case for and against dealing Connolly

ConnpicNow that the Sabres have acquired versatile forward Brad Boyes, the biggest question regarding Buffalo is what to do with Tim Connolly (right). The center will be an unrestricted free agent, typically the type of player who gets moved so a team can get something for someone who might walk away for nothing.

We'll look at both sides, with John Vogl presenting the view of why they should keep Connolly and Mike Harrington offering the case against keeping him past the trade deadline of 3 p.m. today.

WHY THE SABRES SHOULD KEEP CONNOLLY

Sure, Connolly is the most infuriating player from a fan standpoint. His talent has been a tease since he arrived in 2001. His time in Buffalo should expire following the season no matter what.

But the fact is, with Derek Roy out, the Sabres simply don't have anyone better in the middle. Boyes can play center, but why clear out Connolly just to put someone who's been at right wing in the middle? The depth chart is better with Connolly on it.

Connolly can remain in the middle of Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek. Boyes, if the Sabres like him at center, can move ahead of Jochen Hecht and play between Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford. That moves Hecht down to his rightful spot as a third-line middleman, and Paul Gaustad becomes the fourth-line center.

A center chart that reads Connolly-Boyes-Hecht-Gaustad may not be the league's best, but it's still better than Boyes-Hecht-Gaustad-McCormick. And if the Sabres don't like Boyes in the middle? Well, then they certainly need to keep Connolly because a team can't expect to be a playoff squad with Hecht as the No. 1 center. That's not his role.

As for the thinking they should trade Connolly now in order to get an asset, it's really not that big of a deal. Sure, a second-round pick would be a bonus, but it's not like Connolly was a short-term player and losing him for nothing would hurt the franchise. He's played eight seasons in Buffalo. The player they gave up to get him (Michael Peca) is retired. Though fans are certainly right to say Connolly could have done more and stayed healthier during his long run, it was a long run nonetheless.

Having it continue for a couple of more months isn't going to hurt, and it's the right move.

---John Vogl

WHY THE SABRES SHOULD TRADE CONNOLLY 

The Sabres have already made a couple major statements in the last few days. Terry Pegula said the shackles would come off the team's bank account and Darcy Regier proved that by getting Boyes. By taking on money for the rest of this season and next year, they threw out Tom Golisano's dollar-for-dollar edict in one swoop. 

Now it's time for another statement: Getting rid of the one player who is as big a symbol as any for the on-ice product feeling so stale. 

For his $4.5 million, Tim Connolly has eight goals and 26 points in 47 games this season and is a minus-11. Lax, lax, lax. He's been basically invisible in 5-on-5 play and has had a terrible time handling the puck, especially at the point on the power play. Sure, he's been decent killing penalties but that's not what the Sabres are paying him for. The fans kill him at every fumble.  People know the deal. 

Since the calendar hit 2011, the Sabres have played their best hockey and Connolly has had basically nothing to do with it. Starting on Jan. 1, he's got two goals, 10 assists and is a minus-1 (And that figure is bloated by his plus-5 in the Sabres' two 7-6 games).

There's no way Connolly is coming back next year and it's true this is not like Briere-Drury-Campbell-Spacek-Tallinder-Lydman -- letting an asset walk and getting nothing in return. The Sabres are thin at center and trading Connolly would make them thinner for the playoff push.

Still, I don't see where all of Connolly's experience is making any difference either. He's just a body taking up space. He's done nothing to help this playoff push. Injury or not, he did nothing last year against Boston. If he was hurt, he shouldn't have been on the ice. Get another center in here or simply let Luke Adam or Paul Byron play. They can't be any worse. Get a draft pick for Connolly and call it a day.

---Mike Harrington

Photo by John Hickey/Buffalo News: Connolly goes to the net Saturday against Detroit. Was it his last game as a Sabre? 

Boyes will see familiar faces in Buffalo, or will he?

Two current Sabres have some history with newly acquired Brad Boyes: Tim Connolly and Steve Montador both starred with Boyes on the 1998-99 Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League. Connolly was that team's leading scorer with 68 points (34-34) in 46 games while Boyes had 60 points (24-36) in 59 games. Montador was the team's top defenseman with 42 points (9-33) and 114 penalty minutes in 61 games.

Current Pittsburgh Penguins tough guy Mike Rupp was also on that Erie squad. The head coach was Paul Theriault, one of Ted Nolan's former assistants with the Sabres.

This is the second time Boyes has been part of a trade involving the Sabres. On March 9, 2004, Boyes was in a three-way deal as he went from San Jose to Boston for Jeff Jillson. The Sharks then traded Jillson and a ninth-round draft pick to Buffalo for Curtis Brown and Andy Delmore, and flipped Delmore back to Boston for future considerations.

After playing in last night's game in Calgary -- and having his tying goal with three minutes left wiped out by a high stick -- you would imagine Boyes will most likely join the Sabres for their morning skate Tuesday in New York. It remains to be seen, however, if Connolly and/or Montador will be there. They are both unrestricted free agents after the season and seem like possibilities for several teams, although Darcy Regier said Saturday and confirmed again last night that the Sabres are looking to buy and not sell. We'll see today.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Boyes talks to Blues' Website about trade

New Sabres forward Brad Boyes, who played Sunday night for St. Louis, talked to the team's Website following the game against Calgary. Here's the link.

"Initially, I’m excited," Boyes told the team. "I think it’s going to be a lot of fun the way they play. Coach has been there for a long time, and that part I’m looking forward to."

---John Vogl

More on Boyes

Here are few more tidbits about Brad Boyes, the new Sabres forward acquired from St. Louis late Sunday night in exchange for a second-round draft pick:

*The native of Mississauga, Ont., was a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2000, selected 24th overall.

*He played junior hockey in Erie, Pa., and he's still close with his billets -- who live in Lackawanna.

*He has 16 points in his last 17 games, recording 14 assists and adding two goals.

*Boyes was made expendable by the flurry of moves made by St. Louis. Earlier this month, they traded captain Eric Brewer and defenseman Erik Johnson. The latter brought them forward Chris Stewart.

"When we got a call on Brad, I looked at our roster today and also looked at it moving forward," General Manager Doug Armstrong told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "With the addition of Stewart and knowing (David) Perron is coming back at some point (from a concussion), it was necessary to make the move now while it was available.
 
"You just have to manage your assets. With Stewart, Perron and T.J. Oshie (on the right side), we had to create space. We had too many right wingers."

For Rutherford's complete blog, click here.

*Boyes, who played Sunday night for the Blues against Calgary, is plus-11. He's been a fixture on the power play this season but has not killed penalties.

*He led the Blues with five shootout goals on eight attempts.

---John Vogl

Sabres acquire Boyes from St. Louis; Regier hoping for offense

Brad Boyes has the talent. It’s not luck when a player scores 76 goals in two seasons. The forward just has to rediscover how to use it that often.

He’ll be getting the chance in Buffalo.

The Sabres acquired Boyes from St. Louis late Sunday night, sending the Blues a second-round pick in the June draft. The 28-year-old right winger is in sixth season and has one year left on his contract, which has a cap hit of $4 million and a salary of $4.5 million this year and $4 million next year.

"For us, he’s someone that if he can slide into our forward group and contribute offensively, then that’s what we’re looking for," Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said by phone. "He was one of a few players that we’ve talked about. We were looking for someone that could contribute for the balance of this season and a minimum next season, and given the marketplace at the deadline, he was one of the guys we were looking at."

Boyes was a scoring machine from 2007 to 2009 with the Blues. He led St. Louis with 43 goals in 2007-08 and was tied with Paul Kariya for the team lead with 65 points. The following season, Boyes led the Blues in goals (33) and points, with a career-high 72.

He dipped to 14 goals and 42 points last season, and he was tied for third on the Blues this year with 41 points (12 goals, 29 assists) in 61 games.

"It’s not just the goals," Regier said. "I certainly think the goals were there and they’ve dropped off, but it’s also his ability to make plays, his ability to play in and around the net. He’s got very good hands. He sees the ice well, can make plays, and I think that’s probably the shift you see in him statistically this year is probably gone from more goals on one end to setting the goals up on the other side.

"We’ll be happy to take whether he’s scoring the goals or contributing on the offense of someone else scoring the goals. Either one works fine."

Regier entered the weekend saying the Sabres would look to be buyers heading toward today’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, and acquiring a proven talent without giving someone up off the roster proves that early.

"If we were sellers we could have accumulated some draft picks, but that’s not the objective," Regier said. "The objective is try and help the team down the stretch this year for this playoff run, and then again beyond that."

---John Vogl

The Hockey News profiles Regier

The Hockey News catches up with Sabres GM Darcy Regier today on its Website. There's no news in the profile, but it offers a little glimpse into his life. For instance:

*Favorite Movies: "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Shawshank Redemption."

*Funniest Players Encountered: "A guy by the name of 'Swoop.' I probably should leave it at that and not give you his real name. And he was from Roblin, Manitoba - a small town. And there was a rumor that after he retired, his barn burnt down and his whole town was stoned for about three days (smiles)."

---John Vogl

Connolly untouchable?

At least one team has been rebuffed in its attempt to acquire Sabres center Tim Connolly, with a source saying GM Darcy Regier told the club he has no plans to move the pending unrestricted free agent.

"The players you get inquiries on are the players that will be unrestricted next year," Regier said Saturday. "A number of those players have moved, but again our focus is more on buying than it is on selling given where we are in the standings. We want to add to this team as opposed to lessen our chances."

---John Vogl


The NHL's Sunday morning papers

Happy Trade Deadline Eve. With one day till the NHL swap meet, the Sabres are taking the day off. They'll be back Monday, a day that will be interesting to cover. The Sabres will skate in the morning at the rink in Amherst, while GM Darcy Regier will be at the arena, which is unavailable to the team because WWE's "Monday Night Raw" is coming town.

As usual, we'll have you covered. Mike Harrington will be at practice, I'll be at the arena monitoring deals (or no deals), and Bucky Gleason will be somewhere and anywhere. It'll be rink-to-rink, morning-to-night coverage, right here at BuffaloNews.com.

Until then, here are your Sunday morning papers, starting right here in the B-lo:

*The Buffalo Sabres were a mere 60 seconds from winning their third straight game Saturday. The fans were roaring, eager to see the six-game homestand in HSBC Arena finish at .500 after a dreadful start. In the end, it was a sorrowful finale, too.

Detroit tied the game with 57.9 seconds left, and the Red Wings showed their skill in the shootout to come back and drop the Sabres, 3-2. There were no moral victories for competing hard on back-to-back nights against one of the NHL's top teams. There was only the realization that every point matters, and the Sabres gave one away.

"At this point, we have to be really disappointed in efforts like that because if you don't get two points you're not gaining much ground," goaltender Ryan Miller said. "We should be really, really disappointed in that."

*Bucky's Inside the NHL column leads with the Sabres' new president. Nice guy, Ted Black.

He comes across like a humble person with his priorities in order. His self-deprecating humor should take him a long way in Buffalo. He jokes that he's a recovering lawyer and never the smartest guy in the room, but actually he's a self-assured, intelligent man without the massive ego often found at high levels of management.

There's a sense he gets it. And that's half the battle.

*The Buffalo Sabres were forced to shuffle their defense corps, and Andrej Sekera took advantage of his opportunity. Sekera, a healthy scratch the last three games, scored a goal and assisted on another in the first period of the 3-2 shootout loss to the Red Wings. He was only in the lineup because Jordan Leopold was a surprise scratch with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

"Andrej played great, really skated well," said coach Lindy Ruff. "You'd like to bottle exactly what you saw."

*It appears Craig Rivet is going to be one of those guys, the hockey player who unexpectedly gets sent to Buffalo, falls in love with the place and settles down in the area when his career is over.

"You never know what the future holds, but right now it looks like Buffalo could be a place to settle for a little while for myself and my family," Rivet said Saturday. "We've truly enjoyed ourselves in our time in Buffalo."

That said, the defenseman was eager to get out of town Saturday evening. The Columbus Blue Jackets claimed the former Sabres captain off re-entry waivers in the afternoon, and Rivet flew to meet his new team in Nashville for today's game against the Predators.

*The New York Rangers traded forward Tim Kennedy, a South Buffalo native, and a third-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers for veteran defenseman Bryan McCabe. Here is the Miami Herald's take on the deal.

*The Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3 losers in Montreal, would be best served keeping an eye on who's coming at them from behind. Buffalo is now two points behind Carolina in the Eastern Conference standings with two games in hand. Toronto is five points back with one game in hand.

*Milan Lucic had the kind of homecoming most players can only dream of. The Vancouver native scored the go-ahead goal with 4:38 remaining in regulation and assisted on Boston's other two goals as the Bruins downed the Canucks 3-1 to improve to 4-0 on their six-game road trip.

---John Vogl

Vote for your three stars

Live from the Arena: Sabres vs. Wings

Greetings again from HSBC Arena as Terry Pegula goes for 3-0 and the Sabres go for 3-3 on the homestand as they meet the Detroit Red Wings.

Breaking news on the scratch front: Jordan Leopold is out for Buffalo with an upper-body injury. (He probably deserved to sit based on how terrible he was last night. Maybe he was nursing something that caused him to be so soft with the puck). Drew Miller is a scratch for Detroit. As in Ryan Miller's brother. As in the guy the Detroit papers all wrote about today playing his brother. 

The Miller parents and siblings are here too. Drew has played 54 games this year. There's no hint of an injury. Now, I understand the Red Wings are getting Mike Modano and Valtteri Filppula back from injuries and they've lost two straight at home. But that seems like an awfully harsh decision from coach Mike Babcock.

Buffalo starters: Ennis-Hecht-Stafford-Butler-Myers. Goal: Miller
Detroit starters: Holmstrom-Modano-Filppula-Lidstrom-Stuart. Goal: MacDonald. 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Shootout

Wings win: Datsyuk and Hudler score on backhand dekes. Stafford and Vanek stopped. Two points behind Canes. 

Overtime

9:29 p.m: The puck is dropped. Sabres are 11-6 in OT this year (6-6 in game-deciders, 5-0 shootouts)) and Red Wings are 10-6 (7-4, 3-2).

4:30 left: Great move by Stafford, great save by MacDonald.

2:30 left: Ennis stopped on the doorstep, crashed into MacDoald. Didn't really get shot off.

1:40 left: Lidstrom just wide from in front.

33.0 left: Icing on Buffalo after a nearly brutal giveaway by Myers to Datsyuk circling near the red line as the last man back. Timeout, Lindy. Shots are 2-1 for the Sabres in the OT.  They have to be thinking just get to the shootout, where they're an NHL-best 5-0.

4.2 left: Faceoff to left of Miller. Shots 3-2 for Buffalo.

On to the shootout: Final shots 37-32 for Detroit. AND GET THIS: Montreal beats Carolina, 4-3, on Andrei Kostitsyn's power-play goal with 3:53 left. Win this shootout and Buffalo is a point back.

Third Period

8:52 p.m. : The puck is dropped.

13:36 left: Apologies for the lack of updates. Wrapping up early print duties and not many whistles. Nice save by Miller on Mike Modano. Wings pushing again. Shots are 5-3 for Detroit in the period.

12:33 left: Have to wonder if Sabres can protect a one-goal lead against this club for 29 minutes. Tough task.

10:59 left: Miller stops the always dangerous Datsyuk on a one-timer from the slot. Meanwhile, the Penguins get two late second-period goals to take a 3-2 lead at Toronto through two. The Canes and Montreal are 3-3 early in the third.

8:58 left: Some great skating by Ennis created a couple near-misses in the Detroit zone. Wings have a 9-4 lead in shots and 28-26 for the game. It was, remember, 12-5 for Buffalo at one point.

5:54 left: Buffalo still in hold-on mode. Shots 10-4 for Detroit. Miller has been great on this homestand (1.83 GAA and .945 save percentage). They need him to keep the door shut.

5:18 left: Old friend Clarke MacArthur and Joffrey Lupul score 35 seconds apart early in the third in Toronto and the dont-call-us-Laffs lead Pittsburgh, 4-3. Ouch.

2:19 left: The back-to-back and three games in four nights showing through as the Sabres are hanging on. Wild one in Toronto: Pens score short-handed, Leafs score on PP to go back up, 5-4, Pens tie it at 5-5. Carolina still 3-3 at Montreal with five minutes left.

2:00 left: Miller flat-out robs Datsysuk with the left pad. 

57.9 left: That was inevitable. Had to happen. Floater from the point, rebound and banged home by Hudler. Game tied, 2-2. Shots are 15-4 in this period and 34-28 in the game. Sabres just outta gas. But seriously now, how many two-goal leads can a team blow in a season?

8.7 left: Butler with a great chance but MacDonald holds on -- with Niedermayer right there waiting for a rebound to drop.

On to OT: So we're tied at 2-2 as the Sabres came within 57 seconds of protecting a lead for 29 minutes. Shots were 16-6 in the third for Detroit (35-29 for the game)

Second Period

Of note: Sabres had 24 hits each of the last two games. Already 11 in this period -- and six by Kaleta. Buffalo also 13-6 on faceoffs. Miller hardly tested.

7:59 p.m: The puck is dropped.

15:29 left: Kaleta driving Wings crazy, getting them all yelling at him but he finally goes too far and gets a kneeing call. Discipline, discipline. 

14:50 left: Niklas Kronwell beats Miller but the puck rifles off the post.

13:47 left: Dan Clearly beats Miller high on the backhand -- and pings that one off the bar. The noise rang through the whole building.

12:43 left: Vanek high and wide on the slapper speeding down his off side after a Stafford steal/feed.

12:08 left: Brad Stuart for tripping. Sabres go on first power play. A goal for 3-0 completely changes things and puts Detroit out of it.

11:16 left: Filppula wide on a 2-on-1 after an awful pass by Myers sends Wings away. The short-handed goal bugaboo nearly crops up again.

9:48 left: No goal on the PP and now a penalty, Hecht for holding. 

9:17 left: And we got two octopi on the ice. Pavel Datsyuk beats a screened Miller with a quick snapper on his second try after Gaustad blocked the first one. Sabres lead, 2-1.  Shots are 7-5 for Detroit in this period; much better stanza for the Wings as Buffalo has found penalty trouble.

7:15 left: Hudler on a breakaway and Miller makes the stop -- but did it get thorugh his legs and go wide? Close call. Wings really controlling things now. Sabres woke up a sleeping dog.

4:08 left: Great work by Hecht, Vanek and Sekera get the Sabres some momentum back with a good 30 seconds in the Detroit zone. Badly needed. Shots are 9-7 for Detroit in the period.

3:30 left: Out of town, Carolina is in a 3-3 tie at Montreal and Toronto is leading Pittsburgh, 2-1. Yes, you have to watch the Laffs. They're at 61 points, three shy of Buffalo.

3:17 left: Morrisonn pulls one just off the goal line after it hits him and starts bounding past an out-of-position Miller. On replay: It was a sensational play by Morrisonn, as he reached on the backhand and swept the puck away.

End-2nd: Sabres hold on to their 2-1 lead. Shots were 12-7 for Detroit. 

First Period

7:07 p.m: The puck is dropped.

17:00 left: Is it blasphemy to say I absolutely love those Detroit winged wheel jerseys? Whether it's the white they have on tonight or the red. And there are a TON of Detroit jerseys in the stands. Couple folks on Twitter told me Section 304 has been taken over and the upper rows are filled with red. The building is packed, by the way.

16:10 left: As for hockey, MacDonald makes a nice glove grab on a Weber wrister from the point. Shots are 3-2 for Buffalo.

12:15 left: Shots are 5-4 for Buffalo. Stafford looks a little sore on the bench after crashing over MacDonald on a power move to the net. The lines are the same as last night but the defense pairs are interesting: Sekera goes in for Leopold with Montador while Butler stays with Myers. Weber and Morrisonn stay together. The lines are Ennis-Hecht-Stafford, Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta, Vanek-Connolly-Ennis and Niedermayer-McCormick-Grier.

11:34 left: Great shift by Connolly line with several near misses and a couple solid MacDonald saves. Best chance was an open net for Pominville but he puck hopped over his stick. Sabres with good energy again and a 10-4 edge in shots. They've had 39 apiece the last two games. Well on their way again.

7:05 left: Sabres have great chances all over the place and finally capitalize. What a rush by Andrej Sekera, taking a feed from Hecht at the Detroit line and bursting in on the right wing to beat MacDonald high on the backhand. Perfect shot. His second of the season -- first since Nov. 3 against Boston. Sabres lead, 1-0. Shots are 13-6.

5:01 left: I guess Sekera HATED being a scratch. He just roared down the left side into the Detroit side and fed Grier in front. Grier kicks the puck to his stick and stuffs it home for his second in two nights. Sabres lead, 2-0. 

4:00 left: Grier scores in consecutive games for first time since Oct. 21-24, 2009 at Florida and Tampa Bay. By the way, Grier is not a guy I'd be thinking about moving and it should be noted he has a no-movement clause anyway. As for Niedermayer ..... 

End-1st: In a fast-moving affair (an entire period in 34 minutes) with very few whistles, the Sabres leave the ice to a big hand. Shots are 15-7 for Buffalo and they hold their 2-0 lead. Full marks. They were dominant. They're 15-7-2 in their last 22 games but few periods have been that good. 

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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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