Sabres: The Fat Lady Is About To Sing
by Andrew Kulyk (@akulykUSRT) - posted 11:12 pm, April 6, 2009
Done. Over. “Ooh! Ahh! Sabres on the golf course!”
Tonight at HSBC Arena, the Buffalo Sabres lost a game they had to have in order to establish a toe hold in the desperate race for the eighth and final spot in the Stanley Cup playoff derby. In the end they could not seal the deal, as the visiting Detroit Red Wings handed the Sabres a 4-1 defeat, before an announced sellout crowd of 18,690, which included a healthy smattering of red and white clad Detroit fans.
The Sabres hung with the Red Wings for almost two periods, matching their up tempo style of play and their speed for shift after shift, but could not generate many sure fire scoring chances, despite matching the Wings in the shot column. Brad Stuart’s power play goal for the Red Wings came off the point at 18:41 of the second period, and gave Detroit the first lead of the evening. “It was one of those seeing eye goals and it was a game changer” said defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.
With the teams playing four a side early in the third Detroit made it 2-0, as Marian Hossa buried a rebound past Ryan Miller. Hossa, who earned the game’s first star, added his second of the game a few minutes later to make it 3-0.
But the Sabres then immediately got on the board as Paul Gaustad swooped in on the Detroit net, burying a rebound past Chris Osgood. That gave some life to the crowd.
Unfortunately, that did not spark the Sabres bench, and the ‘Wings played keepaway hockey and the Sabres could not muster any real offense. “They are such a good team. A patient team. The don’t give you many chances and when you get them you have to take advantage. We just couldn’t find it tonight,” said Spacek.
The Sabres pulled goaltender Ryan Miller for an extra attacker with 1:46 to play. Detroit then put an exclamation point on the night with an empty net goal in the last minute, sending the fans scurrying for the exits.
Paul Gaustad refused to give up on the season. “We need to win out. And we need help. It was a tough loss. Now we have three games to win.”
“We hoped a lot of things would go right,” said a disconsolate Coach Lindy Ruff after the game. “We didn’t give up a lot. We just couldn’t find the things to make the difference. In the first period we had two golden opportunities.”
With the loss the Sabres remain 4 points out of the 8th spot in the conference with just three games to play. The team will hit the road for games in Toronto and Carolina, before returning home to close out the regular season this Saturday at 4PM vs the Boston Bruins.
Picking the winner of the Sabres Foundation 50-50 raffle tonight… none other than former Sabre (and best Kansas City Scout ever) Wilf Paiement. So we gotta do this…
“Taro Sez… Clap for the Wilfman!”