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Sabres win 2-1 in Overtime

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550)  -- Welcome once again into the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box, and Happy Holidays. The Buffalo Sabres are set for a brief Christmas break once they finish up with the Phoenix Coyotes tonight. It is the only trip into town for the Western Conference opponent.

The flu bug has gone through the blue and gold's locker room, forcing the team to recall a pair from Rochester. Mark Pysyk and Johan Larsson are up from the AHL and expected to be in the lineup tonight. The Sabres also announced that they have placed Kevin Porter on injured reserve. Tonight marks another return to town for fellow South Buffalo native, and a former Sabre, Tim Kennedy. The forward will be in the lineup for the Coyotes tonight. For more from the morning skate, click here for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer.

Feel free to comment in the thread below, while I add my thoughts in between scoring plays. Also, be sure to give myself and Brian Koziol a follow on Twitter: @PatWGR and @BrianWGR.

First Period

19:36 - The Sabres are even more shorthanded than we first thought. Linus Omark, Cody Hodgson, Ville Leino, Alex Sulzer, and Marcus Foligno are all out tonight. That means the blue and gold have dressed just 18 players. Three forward lines, plus John Scott, and six defensemen.

15:35 - Ted Nolan is actually using Scott on defense. He took a shift along the blue line, giving the team seven rear guards. All of the d-pairings are jumbled, so I do not have a good idea of if this will stick, or if Scott is just skating to give someone on the blue line extra rest on the bench due to illness.

11:13 - Scott was called for interference, but in short order Mike Ribiero was nabbed for hooking. The two teams will skate 4-on-4 for the next 1:14.

8:16 - Buffalo probably just had their best chance of the game so far, thanks to Tyler Ennis. He came from below the goal line to slide the puck to Matt Moulson. Unfortunatelty for the Sabres a Coyotes defenseman was there to deflect the puck away off of his shin guards. Shots are 9-2, Phoenix but I do not think that tells the tale of the period.

3:48 - Ryan Miller is right at the top of his game again tonight. The Coyotes have been buzzing especially with Matt Moulson in the penalty box, but he has equal to all 13 shots this frame.

End of Period

Goal Summary

BUF: none
PHX: none

Penalty Summary

BUF: 8:09 - John Scott (2 min., interference). 14:28 - Matt Moulson (2 min., tripping)
PHX: 8:47 - Mike Ribiero (2 min., hooking)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 3, PHX - 15

Second Period

19:41 - COYOTES GOAL. Martin Hanzal was camped in front of the net to deflect a Connor Murphy shot past Ryan Miller. And after a lengthy video review it was deemed a good goal. Miller is not happy. 1-0 PHX

11:39 - Shots are even, 5-5 this period, but the blue and gold have had the better of the play. The problem again is that the shots are going wide. They are not going to score that way.

8:44 - The already shorthanded Sabres will now miss Drew Stafford for the rest of the game. He was given a five-minute elbowing major and a game misconduct for elbowing Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the offensive zone. I thought it was a weak call sold by the Phoenix defenseman. If you want to call a double minor, OK, but it was not an hit worthy of a game ejection.

2:12 - Buffalo was able to kill off the entire five minutes of Stafford's major. It was a solid team PK.

End of Period

Goal Summary

BUF: none
PHX: 0:19 - Martin Hanzal (10) (Connor Muprhy, Tim Kennedy)

Penalty Summary

BUF: 11:16 - Drew Stafford (5 min., elbowing). 11:16 - Drew Stafford ( game misconduct, elbowing)
PHX: 13:47 - Martin Hanzal (2 min., roughing)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 12 (15), PHX - 7 (22)

Third Period

17:35 - Matt Moulson took a lazy penalty to start the period, but the Coyotes could not take advantage. I have been far less impressed with Phoenix tonight than Buffalo. The Sabres are down several players, but the visitors are not really taking advantage of the situation.

13:37 - A yeoman's job by Zemgus Girgensons to beat out an icing nearly resulted in the game tying goal. This youngster has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal year. His effort night in and night out has been very good to see.

8:34 - Mike Smith nearly gave the Sabres an early Christmas present with the way he handled the puck a moment ago. If it were not for his defenseman to bail him out this game would be tied 1-1 right now.

5:59 - SABRES GOAL. The blue and gold could not score on the power play, but Zemgus Girgensons did not give up on the play and Tyler Ennis made a goal scorer's move to deke out Mike Smith and shovel the puck into the top corner of the net. That has energized the fans here tonight. 1-1 tie

1:00 - How the Sabres are controlling the play late in this game is beyond me. I give them high marks for showing this level of intensity at this point of the game and keeping Phoenix out of it.

End of Regulation

Goal Summary

BUF: 14:01 - Tyler Ennis (8) (Zemgus Gigrensons)
PHX: none

Penalty Summary

BUF: 0:22 - Matt Moulson (slashing)
PHX: 11:53 - Michael Stone (2 min., high sticking). 16:00 - Derek Morris (2 min., tripping)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 13 (28), PHX - 11 (33)


1:51 - Both teams have had chances in this extra session, neither side is just sitting for the shootout. Jamie McBain had two good chances early in the period, but Smith better.

1:13 - SABRES GOAL. To quote Jack Buck: "I don't believe what I just saw." Mark Pysyk pinched in the offensive zone, had the puck deflect up in the air and it sat on the back of Mike Smith as the goalie slides back into the net. There was a video review to determine what happnened, and Toronto confims the goal. The Sabres win. Incredible. 2-1 BUF.

End of Game

Buffalo 2, Phoenix 1 FINAL/OT

Goal Summary

3:47 - Mark Pysyk (1) (Matt Moulson, Christian Ehrhoff)
PHX: none

Final Thoughts

I echo what Rob Ray said at the end of this wild one; that was a character building win for the blue and gold. Without going too far over the top, it was not easy tonight. The team was two players short to start the game, and then with Stafford's ejection three players down and they still pull out the win. If you couple this win with the previous week against Boston, these are nice wins. If it were earlier in the season expectations would be raised. Now the blue and gold can rest up the next three days. The Sabres get back at it on Friday night in Toronto. Buffalo and the Maple Leafs drop the puck just after seven o'clock, with pregame starting at 6 p.m. on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550.

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Locations : BuffaloPhoenixRochester
People : Brian KoziolJohan LarssonKevin PorterMark PysykPaul HamiltonTim Kennedy
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