I went to my last regular season game last night. A co-worker was selling off some of her season tickets and I went in with a few buddies at work and bought a few games. Most fun thing ever! Here are my girls (Monica, Kathy, and Sue) celebrating after goal #4:
The first period was fantastic. The boys were doing everything they hadn't been doing consistently for a while - playing tight in the defensive zone, being aggressive and simple in the offensive zone, taking advantage of any and all mistakes made by the opposition - and it showed on the scoreboard. In the second period the Islanders came out a little bit stronger, particularly Jason Blake, and the Sabres went into lock-down mode which made for a really dull 20 minutes. I barely remember that period. I do however remember the third period because it was kind of ugly. The boys went back to some of the bad habits they've developed over the past couple of months - passing instead of shooting, trying to be too fancy, playing sloppy in their zone. Ryan also gave up his regular last minute goal - it's like he has an attention span of exactly 58 minutes and after that he's gone. Still... they hung on for the win.
Random observations: Chris Drury looked the most like himself he's looked since coming back from his concussion. Derek Roy is primed and ready for the playoffs. He's so much fun to watch. Henrik Tallinder got absolutely smoked on one of the Islander's power play goals which doesn't happen very often. I'm a little worried that his ankle is still bothering him. And with apologies to the Kalinin haters, Tri was once again one of the most solid players in the game. He's moving into playoff form as well, I think.
And Thomas Vanek. Geez. After his goal last night Monica and I looked at each other and said at the same time, "That was AWESOME." It was right in front of us so we had a great view. There was definitely skill involved but a lot of it was sheer effort. He wanted the goal and he was going to get it. Thomas handled his benching during last year's playoffs pretty maturely and he responded to it exactly the way he should have - he worked his ass off in the off-season and has improved just about every aspect of his game this season - but he's made it pretty clear that he didn't entirely agree with the benching. I'm hoping he carries a little bit of a chip on his shoulder about that into the post-season. I absolutely cannot wait to see what he does because man, it could be amazing. I hope to see him in Sabres blue and gold for a very long time.
Tonight: Montreal and potential clinching of first in the East.