Last Saturday the blue and gold dropped a 6-1 decision to the Mortreal Canadiens, and tonight they would like to return the favor. It apprears that Christian Ehrhoff's injury will only cost him one game. We expect the defenseman to suit up tonight, and help the d corps. For Paul Hamilton's pregame primer, click here. The Sabres are trying to get off the mat, so to speak, having lost seven of their last eight games.
Chime in throughout the night in the thread below, and be sure to give me a follow on Twitter: @PatWGR. Brian Koziol also shares his thoughts there: @BrianWGR. I will add my two cents, in addition to the scoring plays here also.
20:00 - Ehrhoff passed the test in warmups, and is in the lineup. Adam Pardy is a healthy scratch for head coach Lindy Ruff.
16:31 - Ehrhoff is paired with Jordan Leopold tonight. Mike Weber is with Tyler Myers, while Alexander Sulzer is with T.J. Brennan.
15:49 - CANADIENS GOAL. Tomas Plekanec does it yet again to Ryan Miller and the Sabres. Miller drops down and has the shot beat him over the shoulder for the goal. Of course, Montreal strikes first. Now it is important to come right back in you are the blue and gold. 1-0 MTL.
15:34 - SABRES GOAL. Steve Ott spins around after he takes the puck near the side of the net, and simply slides the puck through Peter Budaj's legs for the equalizer. That is how you answer the go-ahead goal. 1-1 tie.
13:23 - Shots on goal at the first media timeout are 5-3, Montreal.
12:28 - The Habs are on the power play, as Thomas Vanek was assessed the first minor penalty of the night. Could be a big momentum swing either way with the sniper in the box.
10:41 - Penalty kill complete, the Sabres come away unscathed despite Miller not looking all that confident between the pipes. There were a couple of times in the span when the goalie looked out of place or was sliding in the blue paint a little more than normal. That bears watching throughout the night.
5:59 - Jason Pominville passed up a golden opportunity in the slot with no body on him. The captain passed the puck to the left wing side, and Buffalo did not end up with a shot on goal. The puck needed to go on net there. That was bad.
5:12 - Buffalo gets its first power play of the game, thanks to Brendan Gallagher. The forward was given minors for boarding and roughing, while Brennan was slapped with a roughing minor. Just a 5-on-4 PP for the Sabres.
0:00 - A couple tense seconds in the Buffalo zone at the end of the period. All I kept thinking was "will Buffalo give up another late one." The answer is no.
BUF - 1, MTL - 1
BUF: 4:26 - Steve Ott (2). (Jochen Hecht)
MTL: 4:11 - Tomas Plekanec (5). (Rene Bourque, Alexei Emelin)
Shots On Goal
BUF - 10, MTL - 13
19:09 - First good scoring chance of the stanza goes to Buffalo Pominville released a low shot toward Budaj, and the goaltender had a world of trouble with it. The puck came loose, but Cody Hodgson could not convert. Right now, it may take a "dirty goal" like that to jumpstart the team. We know the top line has carried the way more often than not, also.
17:10 - Buffalo will head to the power play, thanks to an infraction well after a whistle in front of the Sabres' goal. Colby Armstrong is in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Here is a chance for the blue and gold to pepper a shaky goalie early in the period and get the go-ahead goal.
13:49 - A so-so power play by Buffalo nearly turned disastrous, if not for a big save by Miller. Just as Armstrong vacated the box he received a pass at center ice and had a breakaway. Miller did not overcommit, and was able to keep the puck out of the net. The Sabres could not capitalize on :46 of 5-on-3 time, either. That had all the makings of a 2-1 Montreal lead.
7:29 - CANADIENS GOAL. A Tyler Myers screen in front of the net, with Alex Galcheknyuk cutting across the front of the net. Brendan Gallgher let the shot go, and Miller never saw it. We noticed after that Miller gestured to Myers after the goal, as if to say "block it or get out of the way." 2-1 MTL.
6:53 - SABRES GOAL. Tyler Ennis makes up for a lapse earlier in the game by driving the net hard and willing the puck past Budaj. That was a total hustle play by the center. The Sabres need more of that out of the top six forward. 2-2 tie.
4:33 - Fourth power play of the period for the blue and gold. When are they going to convert on one of their chances and take the lead?
1:26 - CANADIENS GOAL. Montreal gets a 5-on-3 chance, and they bury it. P.K. Subban unleashes a bomb from the point and it finds the top of the net. As Brian just said to me, good teams convert on the 5-on-3. 3-2 MTL.
End of Period
MTL - 3, BUF - 2
BUF: 13:06 - Tyler Ennis (4). (Marcus Foligno)
MTL: 12:31 - Brendan Gallagher (4). (Brandon Prust, Raphael Diaz) 18:32 - P.K. Subban (2) PPG. (Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty)
Shots On Goal
BUF - 18 (28), MTL - 12 (25)
19:15 - CANADAIENS GOAL. I was just about to comment that it is imperative that Buffalo score first this period and seize all momentum. Well, that cannot happen thanks to Tomas Plekanec. The Montreal forward walks in on Miller and beats him with a "soft goal" that trickled through. 4-2 MTL.
15:02 - The Sabres record their first shot on goal this period moments ago. I guess at least it did not come ten or more minutes in...
12:11 - Steve Ott gives the Sabres a chance by absorbing a couple of punches from Ryan White. Four-minute PP for the blue and gold upcoming.
12:03 - SABRES GOAL. Well, there's one thanks to Thomas Vanek. He just keeps finding the puck at the right time, and now if was beside the net to shovel it home and bring Buffalo within a goal. 4-3 MTL.
8:20 - "Just" one goal on the four-minute chance for Buffalo, but they have used it to also grab the momentum and have the better of the play recently. They lead in shots on goal, 6-4 this period.
4:09 - As we come out of the final media timeout, that was a big penalty kill by Buffalo with Jochen Hecht in the box. It was a bad penalty for the veteran to take, but it did not cost them a goal in the long run.
1:12 - Of course Plekanec is going to get the empty net goal, right?!
19:58 - SABRES GOAL. With just 1.9 to go in regulation Thomas Vanek's second of the night with a scrum in the crease has tied this game and will send it to overtime. High drama here at First Niagara Center, 4-4 tie.
End of Regulation
BUF - 4, MTL - 4
BUF: 7:57 - Thomas Vanek (9) PPG. (Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno) 19:58 - Thomas Vanek (10). (Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno)
MTL: 0:45 - Tomas Plekanec (6). (Brian Gionta, Rene Bourque)
Shots On Goal
BUF - 10 (38), MTL - 5 (30)
4:21 - The Canadiens had a chance to put the game away with a 2-on-1 chance, but some good defense by Ehrhoff and a save by Miller keeps this one going.
1:47 - The Sabres are all out of sorts with their passing, and it has almost cost them. An offensive zone faceoff for Montreal right here.
End of Overtime
BUF - 4, MTL - 4
Shots On Goal
BUF - 2 (40), MTL - 2 (32)
0:00 - Thomas Vanek not only scored twice in the game, but netted a shootout score to help lead Buffalo. Vanek shot first and scored, and with the shootout tied 1-1 Jason Pominville scored and Brian Gionta was stopped.
End Of Game
Buffalo 5, Montreal 4/Shootout
Well, that could be...could be...a big win for the Sabres. They were dead to rights, but their leading scorer bailed them out with almost no time left, and were able to get two points in the shootout. When the game ended the Sabres came back on the ice to salute the fans still assembled in the seating bowl, seemingly to say thanks for backing us, despite how bad times have been so far. Next up is a date with the New York Islanders on Saturday night. The puck drops from Long Island at seven o'clock, with pregame coverage starting at six with Brian Koziol. Pregame starts at six p.m. on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550.