Overreactions with 62 to go: Sabres beat Sharks (again) on wild weather day in WNY

459205408_slideIt’s fairly common for the region to figuratively groan every time Western New York gets attention for bad weather. It happens, but the locals will always argue that the summers are real nice and it snows more in other places and the people are great and yada, yada, yada… but with a national television audience tuning in, it was a night about the weather.

With up to five feet of snow (accurate) burying parts of metropolitan Buffalo, including areas just minutes from First Niagara Center, the Buffalo Sabres continued their dominance of the San Jose Sharks, picking up a 4-1 win in front of an estimated crowd of about 6,200. It was the Sabres’ eighth straight win against the Sharks, who haven’t won in Buffalo since 2005.

“It was strange at the beginning, but I think the people that were here certainly gave us a boost and how hard they fought even to be here,” said Sabres coach Ted Nolan.

Brian Gionta scored twice for Buffalo, his first two goals as a Sabre. Model American and hockey god Brian Flynn added a goal and an assist, while Nic Deslauriers added the opening goal for Buffalo.

Michal Neuvirth stopped all ten shots he faced, but had to leave the game after the opening period with a lower-body injury. Jhonas Enroth entered the game in relief and stopped 19 of 20 San Jose shots to pick up the win.

Brent Burns scored for the Sharks, who account for two of Buffalo’s three regulation wins this season.

  • The injury forced goaltending coach Arturs Irbe, a former Shark who’s been out of the NHL for a decade, to suit up as an emergency goaltender in case Enroth went down. Irbe spent five seasons with the Sharks, including their inaugural season in 1991-92.
  • Buffalo finished with fourteen shots on goal, their third lowest total of the season. The 30-14 shot difference was near identical to the 30-15 shot totals in the Sabres’ win over the Sharks in San Jose last month.
  • I tweeted it before the game, but that’ll be one of the more memorable games of this season and maybe of this whole rebuild. I haven’t seen the building that empty since the bankruptcy days over a decade ago.
  • The most amazing part to me was that the weather at the arena and in the city of Buffalo wasn’t bad. At all. Did not see a single flake on my way in, streets were empty, and the only issue getting to the arena was that the I-190 was closed.
  • Can someone figure out why Ted Nolan ever thought it was a good idea to keep Brian Flynn out of the lineup. It becomes less defensible by the game. Dude is a player.
  • This tweet seemed to get picked up by a bunch of media. Put those pictures in your photo albums to remember:
  • Tyler Myers picked up his 100th career assist on Gionta’s first goal. The numbers he’s got at such a young age are impressive, but when you’re put in situations to succeed year after year, things add up.
  • If the Sabres are going to be awful, the least they can do is be entertaining, and they’ve been doing that lately. Combined 36 goals between Buffalo and their opponents over the last five games.
  • Cool that the Sabres’ twitter account is using #FLYNNSANITY now considering they don’t care to unblock or explain why they felt the need to block the person who rightfully stole it from Green Bay Packers fans talking about backup QB Matt Flynn. #snow #fun #growup
  • Your Sabres TOI leader? Tyson Strachan at 24:24. Pretty incredible the ice time this guy is getting considering he was expected to be a veteran addition for Rochester.
  • Good to see Brian Gionta finally hit the scoresheet like that. His two goals are exactly two more than departed captain Steve Ott has for St. Louis.

3MI Three Star Selections
1. Brian Gionta, Buffalo
2. Brian Flynn, Buffalo
3. Brent Burns, San Jose

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Brian Gionta, Buffalo (2 goals (2), assist)
2. Brian Flynn, Buffalo (Goal (2), assist)
3. Torrey Mitchell, Buffalo (+3, 1 SOG)

Quote of the night:

“It’s a big relief. It’s been a long time and it weighs on you a little bit.”

— Buffalo Sabres forward Brian Gionta

Posted on November 19, 2014, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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