3MI Live Blog: Sabres vs. Lightning
Well, I can’t say when I opened up a WordPress account over three years ago that I expected to be sitting here in the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box at First Niagara Center for a game, but, here we are.
The Sabres take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, their first home game in 11 days. In honor of the occasion, we’ll be live blogging during the game, and still offering “Overreactions” after.
And, of course, thanks to the Buffalo Sabres and the PR/media staff for allowing us bloggers a haven above the action.
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Pregame skate // Sabres led out by Ryan Miller, Lightning by Mathieu Garon, as expected. Matt Ellis is on the ice. I smell two points.
Pregame // I saw a lot of negative reaction on twitter about the advertisement banners hanging from the rafters at First Niagara Center. Honestly, I’ve sat here for over an hour and just noticed them, and they’re basically right over my head. It’s not that horrible. If the Sabres can recognize a sponsor that’s been good to them and make the sponsor feel good, more power to them. It’s a business. I’m not offended by it whatsoever.
Lineups // Sabres scratches are expected: Mike Weber, Jochen Hecht, and Tyler Ennis. Key Lightning scratch is Mattias Ritola.
18:27 1st // Pat Kaleta with a great first shift. Two big hits, including one on Lecavalier. Great tone setter.
17:14 1st // Thomas Vanek and Brad Boyes get on the board quick. 2-0 Sabres. Vanek steals the puck from Eric Brewer and walks in alone. Brad Boyes pounds home a loose puck. Could be one of those nights.
12:03 1st // First television timeout, and it’s been all Sabres so far. Shots 7-4. Each line has had at least one good shift. Great start.
10:48 1st // Thomas Vanek takes the first penalty, with a careless hook. The game had started getting a little grabby, so it was only a matter of time before something got called.
6:58 1st // Vincent Lecavalier gets Tampa Bay on the board, jamming his own rebound past Ryan Miller.
6:40 1st // Pat Kaleta drops the gloves with Steve Downie. Entertaining period to say the least.
3:43 1st // Andrej Sekera with a nice play to cancel out Steven Stamkos. Guy just keeps playing well.
1:59 1st // Must comment that the music so far has been better. Some Notorious B.I.G., and they just played “Long Way Down” and “Sweetness” back-to-back. Better. Still room for improvement, but better.
59.1 1st // An unfortunate bounce, and it’s a tie game. Nate Thompson throws a puck in front from below the goal line, hits a skate and it’s 2-2.
End of 1st period: Sabres 2, Lightning 2. Shots are 15-10 Buffalo.
19:32 2nd // And that’s Robyn Regehr leveling Vincent Lecavalier. Wow.
15:23 2nd // Robyn Regehr and Ryan Malone drop the gloves. Anticipation builds quickly… and they fall to the ice. Well then.
15:18 2nd // Steven Stamkos tips a point shot that squeaks through the legs of Ryan Miller. Not a quality goal, but deflections usually get the pass when it comes to arguing the relative softness. A 2-0 lead officially a deficit. Eish.
9:39 2nd // Thomas Vanek draws a penalty as he fails to convert a breakaway. Hedman gets the call for the stickwork. Sabres must generate offense on this advantage. Goal isn’t needed per se but they need the momentum.
8:45 2nd // Drew Stafford takes a weak penalty to wipe out the advantage. Not a good move.
3:54 2nd // Come on, game presentation people. Still with the blooper videos? Embarassing. Watch the crowd go dead silent as soon as play starts.
1:04 2nd // Tampa’s Nate Thompson just drove to the net with Brad Boyes hanging on his back. Impressive play. Like a tight end stumbling downfield with a corner trying to wrap him up.
End of 2nd period: Lightning 3, Sabres 2. Shots now 22-16 Buffalo.
19:31 3rd // Sabres open with a decent shift out of Gaustad-Gerbe-Kaleta. Obviously an attempt for energy, but I’m not feeling it.
16:07 3rd // Still not feeling it.
8:42 3rd // A good shift from the aforementioned Gaustad line brings some physical play and some scoring opportunities but yields no tying goal.
5:30 3rd // Lecavalier takes a penalty. Sabres with a huge opportunity here.
1:23 3rd // Ryan Malone takes advantage of a breakaway and makes it 4-2. That should ice it.
49.2 3rd // Maybe. Nathan Gerbe rips home a loose puck. 4-3.