MONTREAL -- This is one of those nights we could have used about five Sabres stories. There was the Tyler Myers scratch and Lindy Ruff popping off in the morning, the NHL deciding not to suspend Milan Lucic in the afternoon, Brendan Shanahan ripping Ruff at the Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony in the evening. And then you had to ask the Sabres and Ruff about the Lucic situation after the game again.
Oh yeah, there was a game? Easy to forget. And a big one too.
The Sabres rallied for a 3-2 shootout victory over Montreal, getting third-period goals from Jason Pominville and Derek Roy to wipe out a 2-0 deficit and shootout goals from Thomas Vanek and Brad Boyes. Buffalo was 2 for 2 in the shootout while Montreal was just 1 of 3 against Jhonas Enroth, who improved to 6-0 this year.
(While you're getting smoked on deadline, I completely braincramped that the shootout was over until I saw the Sabres jump the boards. They had only taken two shots! Anyway).
The Sabres weren't great through two periods. Pretty blah performance. Not terrible by any stretch but not nearly good enough either. When Ruff switched Derek Roy and Luke Adam as centers on the top two lines, it made a huge difference. Here's some thoughts in no real order.
Roy-Vanek-Pominville: Ruff went to it to get something going. Good call. He always has it at his disposal. He went to three lines in the third period with Cody McCormick ill. Ruff said he might keep it. Of course, with him that means for a period.
Enroth: The kid is killer in shootouts (and a killer for reporters looking for quotes -- doesn't offer much, but he can sure stop pucks). Said Ruff: "He doesn't look big back there but somehow he stops them in shootouts. He's cool."
Defense: The Sabres killed off an overtime power play. Underrated aspect of Patrick Kaleta's suspension is how good he's been on the PK. And the line of Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad and Kaleta had some nice physical play. But Gaustad took three bad penalties and might hear from Brendan Shanahan himself for his third period high stick to the face of a Montreal's Alexei Emelin. Wouldn't THAT be ironic?
Myers scratched: The Sabres won. Mike Weber was pretty good, especially in the physical department. Let's see if Myers stays in the press box Wednesday against New Jersey.
Dealing with the media mob: The Sabres were excellent today. There's not many times in their careers in the regular season -- in November no less -- the locker room will be the circus that it was. There wasn't a tent big enough to cover it. Probably three dozen folks or so in a very small space. On a lot of road games, it's just me or John Vogl, Paul Hamilton of WGR and a guy or two from Sabres.com. Not today. But the players dealt with it professionally and didn't let it become a total distraction.
The NHL's decision: Are you serious? That's a joke. Memo to Shanahan: Ruff is right. It is open season on goalies now. Former ref Kerry Fraser sure thinks so. He ripped Shanahan tonight on TSN.
Moving forward: It's not going to be easy. Questions about toughness will linger. The buildup to the Boston game Nov. 23 will be immense because the Sabres don't play the previous three days. And the NHL will be watching closely.
John Vogl will pick up practice tomorrow heading into the New Jersey game. Here's some audio to listen to after tonight's win.
Jason Pominville on the win
Pominville on the NHL's decision