3MI LIVE: Sabres vs. Capitals

Finding a way to persevere through adversity is the key to being a successful team.

Whether it’s a fanbase ready to bail on their franchise goaltender because of a hot rookie, a crisis of character because of backing away from a challenge, getting blown out by the worst team in the league, or just having your soldiers fall one by one… there’s plenty of adversity to go around for the Sabres tonight.

Coming off last night’s “shitnami” of awfulness in Columbus, the Buffalo Sabres, already devastated by injuries, are facing an underachieving Washington Capitals squad with an even more depleted lineup.

Robyn Regehr, as well as an unnamed forward, were injured in last night’s loss, prompting the recall of Brayden McNabb and Paul Szczechura from Rochester.

McNabb, wearing #81, will make his NHL debut, and Szczechura, wearing #58, will make his Sabres debut.

Washington, tied with the Sabres with 25 points and holding a game in hand, are 3-6-1 in their last 10. For a team expected to run away with their division again, things aren’t going swimmingly in the Beltway.

Tough test for Buffalo at First Niagara Center tonight.

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Warmups // Drew Stafford is the surprise scratch for Buffalo. He’s not on the ice.

Capitals wearing their alternates from last year’s Winter Classic. They’re flagrant.

At the end of warmups, Ville Leino takes a shot down the ice at the empty net after the Capitals leave the ice. Missed it by about ten feet.

Lineups // Karl Alzner, John Carlson on defense, with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer up front for Capitals. Tomas Vokoun gets the start for the visitors. Lindy starts Jochen Hecht, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Andrej Sekera, Jordan Leopold and Jhonas Enroth.

19:08 1st // Roy centering Gerbe and Kassian. Interesting.

17:58 1st // McNabb and Szczechura get their first shifts at the same time. Szczechura with Luke Adam and Ville Leino.

12:24 1st // Pretty uninspiring play so far. Buffalo’s getting a few chances but it doesn’t seem like either team is out to kill tonight. Interesting to see how a goal will change the flow.

9:13 1st // Luke Adam is first to change the scoreline, burying a quick turnover forced by Szczechura to give Buffalo a lead. Really like Szczechura’s game so far. Solid forecheck by the Lein0-Adam-Szczechura line to start the game so far.

5:05 1st // While they’re not blowing the doors off at this point, considering the guys in the lineup, not a bad effort. Playing simple, limiting mistakes.

4:37 1st // Ehrhoff lays a back pass to Thomas Vanek at the point and Jason Pominville smacks home a rebound that Vokoun can’t handle. 2-0 Sabres.

End of 1st period: Sabres 2, Capitals 0. Shots are 12-7 in favor of Buffalo.

16:18 2nd // Sekera gets the first penalty of the game, slashing Ovechkin to prevent a scoring chance in front of Enroth. The arena DJ plays “Long Way Down.” One of these things pleases me.

13:21 2nd // Christian Ehrhoff appears to make a nice play from behind on Jason Chimera on a breakaway, sweeping the puck away, but the official calls for a penalty shot. Chimera beats Enroth high to the blocker side and it’s 2-1. Rough call.

12:54 2nd // Zack Kassian gets his first NHL goal, beating Vokoun with a wrist shot from the wing. Sabres take a 3-1 lead. Sekera and Roy with assists.

8:00 2nd // Paul Gaustad goes off for tripping in what seemed like an innocent play. Hell, looked like Leopold was gonna get the penalty to me. Must’ve missed it.

2:55 2nd // Vanek line is doing a great job stretching the ice. They’re finding more lanes for long passes out of the zone than utilizing conventional full-unit breakouts. Helps having so many offensive defenseman in the lineup.

End of 2nd: Sabres 3, Capitals 1. Sabres outshooting the Caps 21-15.

18:48 3rd // Luke Adam snipes one over Vokoun’s glove to make it 4-1. Ville Leino and Paul Szczechura win the battles in the corner and Adam grabs the puck and rips it home. That line is looking good.

12:12 3rd // Capitals picking up the play. The Ovechkin line with a good extended shift in the Buffalo zone. Still can’t beat Enroth right now. Defensive zone work by the Sabres hasn’t been that bad, either.

9:46 3rd // Crazy to say it, but should the Sabres get a forward back for next game… who are you taking out? At this point, I might say Matt Ellis, because these new guys are looking incredibly good right now. Maybe the Capitals are just that shitty.

7:38 3rd // Vokoun with a stellar pad save on Szczechura as Adam sets him up on a 2-on-1. Follow up chance by Ville Leino denied as well.

5:15 3rd // Jochen Hecht? Shorthanded? Breakaway? That happened.

3:10 3rd // Derek Roy gets a minor for “closing his hand on the puck,” which is probably my favorite minor penalty on the books since they got rid of “obstruction interference.”

End of game: Sabres win it 5-1. Shots end 28-27 in favor of the Sabres.


Posted on November 26, 2011, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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