Overreactions, 31/48 Edition: Wait, I thought this team was bad?

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Sabres forward Steve Ott did score the game deciding goal, but he did a better job summing up the night in the locker room after the game.

“That’s fun,” said Ott.

Buffalo came back from an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game at three before the end of the second and held on in the third to get the game to overtime before they eventually downed the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 5-4 shootout win in front of 19,070 raucous fans, in both teams’ colors, at First Niagara Center.

“Honestly that’s easy energy you can take from the crowd,” added Ott.

The game got off to a wild start as Buffalo John Scott dropped the gloves with Toronto’s Fraser McLaren as Leafs tough guy Colton Orr tried picking a fight with Sabres pest Patrick Kaleta. Orr was booted from the game and Buffalo started off with a four minute powerplay which they failed to capitalize on.

Toronto would open up the scoring with two goals 1:16 apart just minutes later, beating Ryan Miller twice on five shots in the opening period. Tyler Ennis scored late in the period to cut the deficit to one.

The physical play continued to escalate throughout the game, and Toronto regained their two-goal lead on Mikhail Grabovski goal about nine minutes in. Buffalo would storm back on goals 0:45 apart by Marcus Foligno and Jason Pominville to tie the game, and then take the lead early in the third on a Christian Ehrhoff powerplay goal.

Leafs leading scorer Nazem Kadri would tie the game six minutes later, and except for a lot of hitting, the game was unresolved through 65 minutes of play.

“It was nasty and chippy and that’s the way it should be,” said Foligno.

Drew Stafford tallied in round 2 of the skills competition and Ott would score the shootout winner as Miller stopped 5 of 6 Leafs shooters, complementing his 30 saves through regulation and overtime.

Buffalo, with the win, sits just four points out of 8th place with 17 games remaining. Just when you thought they were out, they suck you right back in.

  • John Scott, as much as he gets bashed, may have had his most effective game as a Sabre in 3:02 of ice time. He was able to bait Leafs forward Phil Kessel into a coincidental minor, which is a trade you take any day. And he had some fun after the game.
  • Marcus Foligno always seems to step his game up when they play Toronto. Not just on the scoresheet (has six points in six career games) but as a physical presence. Makes you wish they played the Leafs more often.
  • The drumline in the arena looks dumber and dumber each game. Yes, having someone lead chants is great until they stop, and then everyone else does. You’re creating sheep instead of putting the onus on the fans to make their own noise. Band-aid over a bullet wound.
  • Ryan Miller allowed four goals, but honestly, was really, really good. I don’t think he can be at fault for either of the first two Leafs goals. He made the saves in the third period and overtime that he needed to. He made the saves in the shootout. He put them in a position to win.
  • Looking like a rookie, Mark Pysyk looked really shaky early in his home debut. He lost track of Kadri on the second Leafs goal. But after that, he settled in and didn’t look too bad, and even had a nice shift in overtime. Even if he goes back soon, I like what I see out of him.
  • Can Steve Ott get a letter already? He’s already becoming one of the go-to-guys in the locker room. Leads by example on the ice with passion. He’s becoming what we hoped for when we acquired him.
  • After Ott scored in the shootout, Cody Hodgson jumped off the bench to celebrate the win… only problem was that Toronto still had to shoot. Drew Stafford was slapping the boards, cracking up on the bench.
  • Hodgson had a great game too. His shift with Pominville after the Foligno goal was masterful, just dancing around the Leafs defense. Pominville scored to tie it and momentum was in Buffalo’s favor. Looked really strong on the puck and made some nice plays. He’s developing into a low #1/high #2 center quite nicely.
  • Christian Ehrhoff was fantastic. 27:01 TOI, huge powerplay goal, two assists. Guy’s a steal at $4 million.
  • That was a fun hockey game to watch. Building was fun. Wish they had people here that could make it feel like that more often.

3MI Three Star Selections (vote entered around 6 minute mark of 3rd period)
1. Nazem Kadri, Toronto
2. Tyler Ennis, Buffalo
3. Christian Ehrhoff, Buffalo

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Christian Ehrhoff, Buffalo (goal (3), 2 assists)
2. Nazem Kadri, Toronto (2 goals (13), assist)
3. Tyler Ennis, Buffalo (goal (9), assist)

Quote of the night:

“I guess you’re not allowed to blow guys kisses on the ice, it’s offensive.” — Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott

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Posted on March 21, 2013, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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