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Courtesy of The AP

Sabres shut out at home 3-0



Buffalo, NY (WGR 550)  -- Welcome once again into the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box, where too franchises with similar histories meet up at First Niagara Center. The Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks joined the NHL together in 1970, and neither has won a Stanley Cup to this point. Both teams have a new head coach from the last time they met up in the Pacific Northwest a year and a half ago. Alain Vigneault is out, and John Tortorella is in behind the bench the the Canucks. 

Cody Hodgson and Zack Kassian each play against their former teams for the second time tonight. The first round picks were swapped just before the teams met in Vancouver back in March of 2011. Kassian is making his first appearance in front of the blue and gold's fan base since being dealt. For more about Hodgson and the Sabres, click here for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer.

I will add my thoughts in between the scoring plays tonight. Feel free to comment in the thread below as well. In addition, give myself and Brian Koziol a follow on Twitter: @PatWGR  and @BrianWGR.

First Period

19:23 - An early flurry of chances has resulted in a power play for Vancouver, and Marcus Foligno in the box for cross checking. The Canucks have come out flying.

17:20 - The blue and gold are able to weather the opponents' storm. Foligno is out of the box with the game still scoreless, but the shots on goal are already 9-1 in favor of Vancouver.

13:59 - First media timeout of the period, and Buffalo has come back with some offense of their own. Shots are now 11-4 in favor of the visitors. 

5:56 - There is a ton of Canucks white and blue in the building tonight. There was an audible "Louuuuuu" chant on Roberto Luongo's last save.

5:07 - CANUCKS GOAL. A turnover in their own zone results in a goal getting past Ryan Miller and a deficit for the Sabres. Chris Higgins gets the score on the giveaway. It comes on the 16th shot of the period for Vancouver. 1-0 VAN.

1:54 - You are not going to find an easier penalty call for the officials than the hooking minor Henrik Tallinder just took. His stick was nestled under Zack Kassian's arm for quite a while before he released and the penalty was called. Shots are 18-7, Canucks at the moment.  

0:00 - The Canucks and Sabres have similar power play strategies, it would appear: a heck of a lot of passing, but not a lot of shooting. Just one shot as Tallinder's minor has nearly concluded.

End of Period

Goal Summary

BUF: none
VAN: 14:53 - Chris Higgins (2) (Mike Santorelli)

Penalty Summary

BUF: 0:37 - Marcus Foligno (2 min., cross checking). 18:06 - Henrik Tallinder (2 min., hooking).
VAN: none

Shots on Goal 

BUF - 7, VAN - 19

Second Period

17:09 - Another period, another early penalty for the home team. Cody Hodgson took an interference minor at the goal crease to give Vancouver another man advantage. Just like on Tallinder's minor, not much was generated in terms off offense for the Canucks. Another good PK after a bad penalty.

13:48 - One thing you cannot say again tonight is that Ryan Miller is not on the top of his game. The Buffalo netminder made a nice poke check on Jannik Hansen's half breakaway chance. So far 25 shots faced, and Miller has been up to the task on 24 of them.

10:29 - Buffalo goes to the power play thanks to Dan Hamhuis' holding minor. Buffalo had good positioning in front of the net, and the rear guard could not help but hold on to impede the blue and gold.

8:55 - CANUCKS GOAL. Brad Richardson takes advantage of a lucky bounce off of Mark Pysyk and score a shorthanded goal to up the Vancouver lead. That is why you never give up on a play, because bounces can go your way and it did for the visitors. 2-0 VAN.

5:06 - HUGE HIT by Rasmus Ristolainen at the Sabres bench that dumps a Canucks forward into the home team's seating area. That is the life you would like to see out of a team that is playing its third game in four nights. 

2:06 - Just had a chance to see a replay of the Christian Ehrhoff shot on goal. It was a beautiful deflection by Thomas Vanek that nearly resulted in the puck going in the net. Even though he did not know where it was, Luongo made the pad save to preserve the 2-0 lead. Buffalo needs one of those chances to go their way and get them on the score sheet. 

End of Period

Goal Summary

BUF: none
VAN: 11:05 - Brad Richardson (2) SHG (Jason Garrison, Mike Santorelli)

Penalty Summary

BUF: 0:30 - Cody Hodgson (2 min., goaltender interference)
VAN: 9:18 - Dan Hamhuis (2 min., holding)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 7 (14), VAN 9 (28) 
Third Period

19:07 - The Sabres get unlucky as Thomas Vanek hit the cross bar and post but the puck did not cross the goal line. It was initially ruled a goal on the ice, but video review corrected it. That was the break Buffalo needed, but did not get.

14:12 - A bronx cheer comes up from the crowd as Buffalo records its first shot on goal of the period nearly six minutes in. Overall, Vancouver leads in the category 31-15.

10:29 - The Sabres could not take advantage of Henrik Sedin's tripping minor but did record two shots on the PP. They did not give up any scoring chances shorthanded either.

9:56 - CANUCKS GOAL. The "Fire Darcy!" chants rain down throughout First Niagara Center as Ryan Stanton takes a loose puck in the slot and wires a wrist shot over the shoulder of Ryan Miller. This crowd will (understandably) clear out soon. 3-0 VAN.

6:45 - It seems like nothing can go right for the Sabres right now. Marcus Foligno could not score on a wrap around attempt twice. First, he hit the bottom of the net with the puck, and then a sliding Canuck stopped the second chance opportunity. The seating bowl is more than half empty now as Buffalo sits three goals down.

:59.0 - The crowd cheers the announcement for the final minute of the game.

End of Game

Goal Summary

BUF: none
VAN: 10:04 - Ryan Stanton (1) (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin)

Penalty Summary

BUF: none
VAN: 7:14 - Henrik Sedin (2 min., tripping). 11:08 - Mike Santorelli (2 min., hooking).

Shots on Goal 

BUF - 11 (25), VAN - 6 (34)

Final Thoughts

Well, I guess this is suffering. Get used to hearing me say that as we are just about 1/10 of the way through the 2013-14 season. Buffalo has just one win, and cannot score to save themselves at the moment. Despite having a good third period, the Sabres could not score and get shut out in front of a crowd that increasingly voiced their displeasure with management as the game went along. Next up, the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. The puck drops on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550 at 7 p.m., with pregame coverage with Brian Koziol starting at six o'clock.

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