Myers goal takes down Panthers in the nick of time.
by Peter Farrell - posted 11:52 pm, February 10, 2011
Considering how important this matchup between the Buffalo Sabres and the Florida Panthers was in terms of seeding in the standings, one would have expected almost playoff style atmosphere at the Bank Atlantic Center tonight before an announced crowd of 14,559.
Instead it was anything but, yet The Buffalo Sabres played almost a perfect game tonight, and Defenseman Tyler Myers scored off a wrist shot with 4.5 seconds left in overtime, giving the Sabres a 3-2 win and four points on this Florida road trip.
Both teams played a listless first period, with only 13 shots between the two teams and few scoring chances. Buffalo would take a 1-0 lead midway through the second frame, thanks to a redirect by Defenseman Mike Weber, his third goal of the season. “it was a good face off Pommer got it back to me, I just tried to get it through to the net and it worked out and went in ,” said Weber. “It was an extremely tight road game but we just kept battling and what a huge goal from My-sie (Myers) with a few seconds left.”
Florida would come back to tie it at one on the power play, after Nathan Gerbe took a foolish slashing penalty after a whistle, one of the few mistakes of the night.
The Sabres would again regain the lead in the third on a goal by Thomas Vanek, but Florida would tie shortly thereafter. Both teams had several opportunities in the closing minutes, but this one would go to overtime. Said Coach Lindy Ruff, “I thought we played a pretty smart road game, but they played hard. We knew that both teams were playing tough defensively it was no use trying to take chances. We took what we could get.”
While Buffalo had the best chances to win in extra minutes, it was Tyler Myers streaking down the right side as precious seconds were ticking down. “I thought our overtime was pretty good, and fortunately that last one went in” said Myers. As for the clock winding down? “I didn’t know,” Myers replied. “I was just skating as fast as I could.” Ruff also wasn’t watching the clock. “(Coach Brian) McCutcheon was yelling ‘shoot’ and I knew the clock was going down so maybe it was a lucky shot.”
Buffalo also got help tonight, as Philadelphia beat Carolina in regulation,so the team comes home only two points out of a playoff berth. Thomas Vanek said the team is not watching the scoreboard. “That’s good,” said Vanek about the ‘Canes final. “We have to take care of our own business here we can’t worry about what others are doing. We want to get in we have to win our games then we deserve to get in.”
Up next? It’s the New York Islanders on a Sunday matinee at HSBC Arena, as he team’s climb from December irrelevance to the cusp of the playoffs continues.
A couple other notes from the night that was:
The win gives the Sabres a record of 11-4-1 in the calendar year 2011.
Did anyone see that Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was forced out after 23 years as head man. Relevance to tonight’s game? It means that Lindy Ruff just moved up one more rung on the ladder of “most tenured pro sports coach”. Ruff now only trails St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa(1996) and the San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich(18 games into 1996-7 season)….