Delayed Overreactions: Sabres defeat Coyotes in ridiculous finish

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To quote Vin Scully, who called Kirk Gibson’s unlikely home run in the 1988 World Series, “I don’t believe what I just saw.”

Pretty much.

On what was and will be one of the most incredibly ridiculous goals you’ll ever see, the shorthanded Buffalo Sabres defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 in overtime. Mark Pysyk got credited for the winner as the puck was carried over the goal line by Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.

Reaching for a rebound from his own shot, Pysyk’s effort was deflected up in the air above Smith, and it fell directly into his waistline. Not knowing where the puck was, Smith retreated to his goal, unaware that the winning goal was stick on his backside. That’s a turn of events that could be referred to as “unlikely,” but that definitely happened.

The Sabres were able to get the win despite playing with an incomplete roster, only dressing 16 skaters thanks to a flu bug making its way around the locker room. One of those 16 was John Scott, and another was Drew Stafford, who was ejected mid-way through the second period. Somehow, the home team made it happen.

This was all made possible by a late goal by Tyler Ennis to tie the game at 1. Buffalo dominated play for much of the third period, and a miscue at the Phoenix blueline by the Coyotes allowed Zemgus Girgensons to find Ennis alone in front to beat Smith.

“It’s a great win for the guys,” said Ennis. “We beat some adversity today.”

Ryan Miller made 36 saves to get the win for the Sabres, and was strong in the first period as Phoenix outshot Buffalo 15-3. He was only beaten by a questionably-high deflection from Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal early in the second period.

“These are the kind of things that weren’t happening for us,” said Miller. “It’s a little bit of a Christmas present for us, and we’ll take it.”

More like a Festivus miracle.

  • I commented after the first period how impressed I was with Tyler Myers defensively. I thought that might have been his best 20 minutes of the season. The next 40-plus? Back to unimpressive Tyler he went.
  • That goal went “viral,” as the kids call it on the internet, and for once the Sabres actually got on SportsCenter and Deadspin and dumb stuff like that. It was a dumb goal that brought a lot of brilliance, especially Harrison Mooney’s Grammy Award worthy “Goal In A Butt”. So much fun, guys.
  • Girgensons has been fantastic lately, but I think people need to realize he’s only 19. Let’s not build him up into something he’s not yet. Temper the enthusiasm a bit. I know there’s not much to be excited about with this team, but you run the risk of it getting to his head. That’s dangerous (see: Myers, Tyler) and we do not want to ruin anything about this kid. He’s the real deal.
  • Even not counting the goal, Mark Pysyk was fantastic. Not quite sure about the whole Rochester assignment he just came back from.
  • Man, that first period was Ted Nolan parking the bus. Sabres didn’t forecheck, threw a passive 1-3-1 into the neutral zone and trapped it up. Shot differential wasn’t for no reason.
  • Drew Stafford’s major and game misconduct for elbowing Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the head was deserved and unfortunate at the same time. Tried the body the guy off, just missed. Still, you keep the arms down and then you’re not hitting anyone in the head.
  • Jamie McBain had some glorious chances to win the game in overtime and failed to convert. Dude could’ve ended it long before the pants goal.
  • Things I don’t get: John Scott getting powerplay minutes.
  • Other things I don’t get: John Scott playing as a seventh defenseman when the team has dressed nine forwards. Wouldn’t you just roll six on defense and work Scott in up front? Maybe not.
  • Phoenix really didn’t have any excuse for not coming out of Buffalo with two points, especially after the first period. They’re playing a shorthanded team that’s far inferior to them. But they just mailed it in. Last day of a long eastern roadtrip with the holiday break awaiting and they decided to start the holiday after about 28 minutes of play.

3MI Three Star Selections 
1. Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo
2. Tyler Ennis, Buffalo
3. Mark Pysyk, Buffalo

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo (Assist (9))
2. Ryan Miller, Buffalo (36 saves, 1 GA)
3. Tyler Ennis, Buffalo (Goal (8))

Quote of the night:

“I think I was just frustrated on the one call when the guy had his stick in my jock. I tried to slash his stick out of there. I might need to have kids again.” — Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Moulson

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Posted on December 25, 2013, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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