Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Welcome one final time for the 2013-14 season into the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box, high atop ice level at First Niagara Center. The Buffalo Sabres are putting an end to their season by hosting the New York Islanders in an early evening affair.
Man, what a season it has been. We all knew and thought this would be a season of "suffering" as former general manager Darcy Regier put it, but no one could have expected things to go this poorly this season. The exclamation point was the injury total over the final month of the season. Three players are back from Rochester one more time after yesterday's injuries against Boston. For a complete look, click here for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer.
Be sure to add your thoughts during the game today, while I add my two cents in between the scoring plays. Also, feel free to give Brian Koziol and me follows on Twitter for our thoughts from the offseason: @BrianWGR and @PatWGR.
18:42 - The Sabres handed out some hardware prior to the game tonight. The team's unsung hero is Jhonas Enroth, rookie of the year is Zemgus Girgensons, and MVP is Tyler Ennis. Hard to argue with any of the three choices.
16:44 - It is not often you see John Scott take a punch that sends him down to the ice, but Justin Johnson did just that. Scott got in a few good shots early, but once he lost his balance Johnson delivered the finisher.
12:08 - Buffalo had the first three shots of the game and were flying. Marcus Foligno went in on goal but was tripped up before he could get a shot away. New York rallied after the Scott-Johnson fight and have had the last two shots on goal.
9:33 - SABRES GOAL. Jamie McBain doing his best to send the hometown fans home happy one last time. The defenseman goes the length of the ice and beats Andres Nilsson with a wrister at the far side face-off dot to give Buffalo the lead. 1-0 BUF.
5:48 - Dominate might not be the right word, but the Sabres have been the better team since I mentioned New York had been playing better six and a half minutes ago. This is not one of those "Tuesday night against Nashville" types of games. Plenty of energy inside of this building right now.
3:34 - Drew Stafford is headed to the penalty box for interference. This would be a good time for the Islanders to re-establish their play in the period.
End of Period
BUF: 10:27 - Jamie McBain (6) (Connor Knapp)
BUF: 2:22 - John Scott (5 min., fighting). 16:17 - Drew Stafford (2 min., interference)
NYI: 2:22 - Justin Johnson (5 min., fighting). 8:22 - Justin Johnson (2 min., interference)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 11, NYI - 6
17:33 - The second fight of the night sees Zenon Konopka and Brett Gallant scrap and tire themselves out in the Islanders zone. Plenty of punches thrown, but not nearly the excitement of the game's opening bout.
15:57 - The duo of Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford nearly double the Buffalo lead. Ennis used the drop pass perfectly to setup Stafford in the slot. Nilsson used his frame to keep the puck from going over the line.
12:37 - SABRES GOAL. Matt Ellis makes his presence felt here by simply putting his stick out on the ice, and the puck finds it before going into the net. Ellis is one of those guys that you cannot help but feel good about. A team-first guy, Ellis is the perfect player young guys can learn from. 2-0 BUF.
3:23 - ISLANDERS GOAL. Connor Knapp's shutout bid ends late in the second on an Islanders power play goal. Anders Lee gets the visitors on the board with his eighth goal of the season. 2-1 BUF.
End of Period
BUF: 7:23 - Matt Ellis (4) (Marcus Foligno, Jake McCabe)
NYI: 16:37 - Anders Lee (8) PPG (Frans Nielsen, Josh Bailey)
BUF: 2:27 - Zenon Konopka (5 min., fighting). 15:15 - Nicolas Deslauriers (2 min., roughing)
NYI: 2:27 - Brett Gallant (5 min., fighting). 5:07 - Matt Carkner (2 min., roughing)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 10 (21), NYI - 9 (15)
19:43 - ISLANDERS GOAL. Well, that did not take very long did it. Anders Lee has his second goal of the night after putting a backhander to the far post, beating Connor Knapp on the far side. the Sabres' goalie gave up the far post way too early. 2-2 tie.
15:49 - Nicolas Deslauriers just delivered a handful of absolute bombs to the face of Scott Mayfield in the third fight of the game. The two were sent off about two minutes prior for roughing, and were going to drop the gloves after they got out of the box, like they did.
10:08 - SABRES GOAL. Torrey Mitchell executes the tip drill to perfection after Rasmus Ristolainen unleasehed a shot from just inside of the blue line. That is just what the fans were waiting for. 3-2 BUF.
3:44 - ISLANDERS GOAL. Brock Nelson unleashes a rocket in the offensive zone and flat out beats Knapp for the equalizer. It looks like we will get bonus hockey on the final day of the season. 3-3 tie.
End of Regulation
BUF: 9:51 - Torrey Mitchell (2) (Rasmus Ristolainen, Henrik Tallinder)
NYI: 16:16 - Brock Nelson (14) (Travis Hamonic)
BUF: 2:03 - Nicolas Deslauriers (2 min., roughing). 4:07 - Nicolas Deslauriers (5 min., fighting)
NYI: 2:03 -Scott Mayfield (2 min., roughing). 4:07 - Scott Mayfield (5 min., fighting)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 14 (35), NYI - 9 (24)
BUF: Tyler Ennis - NO GOAL
NYI: Frans Nielsen - NO GOAL
BUF: Cody Hodgson - NO GOAL
NYI: Brock Nelson - GOAL
BUF: Ville Leino - NO GOAL
End of Game
New York Islanders 4, Buffalo 3 FINAL/SO
Well, what is there left to say that has not already been said? Thank you to all who have tuned in, texted, tweeted, and/or commented on the thread in this game blog all throughout the season. Without you, we would not be able to do what we do and have so much fun with it.
I hope to interact with you all via Twitter during the offseason, and again for the 2014-15 season!