MANNHEIM, Germany -- Greetings from SAP Arena, the house that Jochen Hecht built. OK, not really, but he was the first Sabre on the ice -- joining Adler Mannheim legend Rene Corbet -- for laps around the rink to start the exhibition festivities.
Hecht was also the last player off the ice following warmups, as he handed out pucks to his hometown fans. He also led the raucous crowd behind the net -- fans who ran in to get a good spot in the standing room only section -- in a cheer and wave.
It's going to be a wild game in here. The fans needed less than a minute of warmups to start chanting. Drums are pounding.
"The atmosphere will be fantastic," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "I witnessed it at the world championships, and it’s a totally different atmosphere than we’re used to, from the singing, the cheering, the chanting. The emotion in the building and the energy in the building will be something you wouldn’t expect."
For some pics, be sure to visit Twitter.com/BuffNewsVogl.
More when the puck drops.
1:29 p.m.: All right, I'm sold on European sporting events and the puck hasn't even dropped yet. It's non-stop chanting and drumming and clapping in here.
1:31 p.m.: The anthem singer nailed the German national anthem. I think. She butchered the U.S. anthem, though, with words I've never even heard before.
1:32 p.m.: Game on.
1:36 p.m.: The Sabres' lines are Thomas Vanek-Luke Adam-Jason Pominville; Nathan Gerbe-Derek Roy-Drew Stafford; Tyler Ennis-Ville Leino-Brad Boyes; and Cody McCormick-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta. Defense pairs are Jordan Leopold-Christian Ehrhoff; Tyler Myers-Robyn Regehr; and Andrej Sekera-Mike Weber.
1:39 p.m.: German native Christian Ehrhoff goes off for cross-checking at 15:07.
1:40 p.m.: Marc-Andre Gragnani is also playing for the Sabres. Yes, that's more people on the roster than are allowed. Matt Ellis is scratched and Hecht is hurt. Jhonas Enroth already has two nice saves in net.
1:42 p.m.: In honor of Europe ... GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLll! Tyler Ennis gets a breakaway and puts a backhand through the pads of former NHL goalie Fred Braithwaite with 12:42 left. It's 1-0 Buffalo.
1:46 p.m.: No wonder there have been so many Germans pounding beers this week. They need to lube up their throats since they do nothing but yell chants during games.
1:52 p.m.: GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLl! Ennis gets his second with 8:38 left. Boyes feeds Leino in the slot, and Ennis buries the rebound from the right side after Brathwaite stopped Leino.
1:58: Adler kills a Sabres power play, so it's still 2-0 Buffalo with 3:57 to go.
2:02 p.m.: Another holding penalty on Mannheim, this time with 1:49 left.
2:03 p.m.: GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Luke Adam scores with 1:41 left, cruising to the top of the crease to deflect Thomas Vanek's pass high into the net.
2:05 p.m.: End of the first, Sabres with a 3-0 lead.
2:25 p.m.: This time, it's the PA announcer yelling, "GOALLLLLLLLLLL!" Mannheim's Yannic Seidenberg scores just seven seconds in the period.
2:26 p.m.: The Sabres answer right back to take a 4-1 lead. A terrible turnover gave Boyes the puck alone in the slot, and the winger buried it high to Brathwaite's glove side with 1:11 gone.
2:31 p.m.: Enroth gets his glove on Mike Glumac's breakaway attempt, deflecting the puck out of play with 14:36 to go.
2:33 p.m.: Kaleta gets two minutes for tripping with 13:25 left.
2:35 p.m.: Shortly after Enroth makes another sparkling save, Adler strikes again. Jaime Sifers buries a cross-ice pass with 12:10 to go, cutting the Sabres' lead to 4-2.
2:44 p.m.: The chanting and drumming continues as Adler defenseman Nikolai Goc heads to the box for tripping with 6:59 to go.
2:46 p.m.: Christian Ehrhoff can shoot. Man, can he shoot. The defenseman blasts a shot from the center of the blue line just under the crossbar, beating new goalie Felix Bruckmann on the power play with 6:02 left to give Buffalo a 5-2 lead.
2:48 p.m.: With a break in action, it's time to say hello to the folks back home. Hi, Ahren. And Christine Snow, Kevin says hello to you!
2:52 p.m.: The Sabres go back on the power play with 4:03 left after a hold by Denis Reul.
2:54 p.m.: Just after the penalty expires, Adam feeds a wide-open Vanek in the crease for a tap-in. It's 6-2 Buffalo witth 1:58 left.
2:56 p.m.: The Sabres head to the dressing room with a 6-2 lead.
3:16 p.m.: The final period of preseason hockey is under way. The real thing starts Friday night.
3:21 p.m.: Weber heads to the box with 14:18 left.
3:23 p.m.: The Sabres are well on their way to a victory, taking a 6-2 lead into a break with 11:47 to go.
3:27 p.m.: Mannheim, meanwhile, gives its partying fans another reason to chant, scoring with 11:08 left on a top-shelf laster by Glumac.
3:31 p.m.: Their team is down, 6-3, but the fans are clapping and singing as loud as they have all day as we get to 8 minutes to go.
3:39 p.m.: Following a goal by Pominville with 6:17 left, Ennis feeds Leino for another tally with 3:47 left. It's 8-3. We likely have to walk down to the locker room before the game ends because there's no back media hall, so this is it for the live blog. Check back soon for postgame reaction.