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Sabres win 2-1 in shootout

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550)  -- Greetings yet again from the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box, high atop ice level at First Niagara Center. This is the last time in 2013 that we will speak as the Buffalo Sabres host the Washington Capitals.

Head coach Ted Nolan was not happy with his team's effort from the second period on Friday night, and yesterday the bench boss put his team through a very spirited practice. The blue and gold did not have a morning skate today because of the game time today, so it was the only chance for Nolan to correct some of the mistakes from Friday. For a full recap of practice, click here for my report from Bud Bakewell Ice Rink.

Be sure to add your thoughts in the thread below, while I add my two cents in between scoring plays. I am also very active on Twitter, so be sure to give myself and Brian Koziol a follow there as well: @PatWGR and @BrianWGR.

First Period

16:37 - The Sabres team defense has held Alexander Ovechkin in check through the first few minutes of the game. They may not have any shots on goal yet, but have played good team defense. 

14:07 - Steve Ott takes the first penalty of the game for cross checking. Now the blue and gold will have to try and hold off one of the best power plays in the NHL in the Capitals.

6:27 - Still no shots on goal for Buffalo. They are getting too cute with their passing in the offensive zone and ruining any chance of getting the puck on the net. This solid team defense can only last for so long.

5:37 - Ovechkin with another shot on goal for Washington. I am always amazed at how quickly the puck goes reaches the net when he unloads a shot. It is honest to God, the fastest I have ever seen in person. And no, I am not counting the hardest shot competiiton in the All-Star Game.

4:25 - The Bronx cheer for Buffalo as Matt D'Agostini records the team's first shot on goal of the game.

End of Period

Goal Summary

WSH: none

Penalty Summary

5:53 - Steve Ott (2 min., cross checking)
WSH: none

Shots on Goal

BUF - 3, WSH - 15

Second Period

18:44 - It took just 1:16 for Buffalo to record its firsrt shot on goal this period. Zemgus Girgensons is credited with the shot and Philipp Grubauer held it for a whistle.

13:10 - John Scott just pushes Mike Green to the ice as if he was weightless to draw a cheer from the fans. Scott has been the subject of much out of town media ridicule this year. 

9:26 - The Caps have 22 shots on goal so far in this game, but I do not feel like they have had very many scoring chances. This is a very boring game, if you ask me. 

6:11 - Marcus Foligno stands up for Ville Leino after Tom Wilson delivered a questionable hit to the Sabre forward. Foligno gets the instigator penalty, but both officials missed a blatant boarding minor. 

3:57 - In basketball, we say "the ball never lies." Well, in the last two minutes the puck does not lie as Buffalo kills off the joke of a penalty to Foligno and the Sabres. Call me a neanderthal if you want, but the instigator rule is one of the dumbest in all of sports.

1:41 - SABRES GOAL. Drew Stafford is able to tip home a Christian Ehrhoff shot over the shoulder of Philipp Grubauer and Buffalo has the lead. The roles are reversed today, as usually it is the Sabres who have the bounce go against them for the opening goal. 1-0 BUF.

End Period

Goal Summary

BUF: 18:18 - Drew Stafford (4) (Christian Ehrhoff)
WSH: none

Penalty Summary

BUF: 13:49 - Marcus Foligno (2 min., instigator). 13:49 - Marcus Foligno (5 min., fighting). 13:49 - Marcus Foligno (10 min., misconduct)
WSH: 13:49 - Tom Wilson (5 min., fighting)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 8 (11), WSH - 15 (30)

Third Period

15:30 - A ho-hum start to the final stanza, and that is just what the Sabres need. Keep playing a solid team defensive game and the Caps will be forced to the perimeter. 

14:26 - CAPITALS GOAL. And there goes the perfect team defensive game after Steve Ott gives the puck away in his own zone. Troy Brouwer gets the puck in the slot and he unleashes a bomb past Ryan Miller. 1-1 tie.

10:21 - Miller may have just saved the game with a huge stop of a Nicklas Backstrom shot. Miller was on his backside when he was able to see the puck and keep it out of the net. The game remains tied. 

7:06 - Now it is Grubauer's chance to keep Buffalo from taking the lead as he stones Ehrhoff and Matt Moulson on the door step and Buffalo has some life as we have crossed the halway point of the stanza.

3:16 - The Sabres have been fiesty this period. First Tyler Ennis delivers the best check of his career to separate Dimitri Orlov from his helmet, and now Mike Weber pinned Tom Wilson in the corner and did not let him up for a good ten seconds. 

End of Regulation

Goal Summary

BUF: none
WSH: 5:34 - Troy Brouwer (8) (Mikhail Grabovski)

Penalty Summary

BUF: 16:53 - Mike Weber (2 min., slashing)
WSH: 16:53 - Jay Beagle (2 min., roughing)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 5 (16), WSH - 15 (45)


:17.0 - A huge save at each end gives us the most action we have had all period. This one seems destined for a shootout.

End of Overtime


Steve Ott scores the only goal in the shootout, Ryan Miller was able to keep all Washington shooters at bay, and Buffalo wins this one. A very exciting finish in Downtown Buffalo.

End of Game

Buffalo 2, Washington 1 FINAL/SO

Final Thoughts

If there were any question that Ryan Miller is one of the top goaltenders in the NHL, the discussion starts and ends tonight. He is playing like Team USA's top goaltender for the Sochi Olympics in two months, and is helping carry this Sabres team to wins that they have no reason to be in. In the end, it is two more points for Buffalo as they get ready to ring in the new year in the Great White North. The Sabres head to Winnipeg to face the Jets on Tuesday night at 7 o'clock. Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550.

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