About halfway through the first period Mark and I had the following exchange:
ME: This is all my fault, isn't it?
Look, I'm sorry I complained about how hard it was to blog about a winning team, okay? Clearly the Hockey Gods were listening and decided to remind me, for a couple of periods, of what exactly it was like to watch last year's team. Porous defense, haphazard power plays, players who flatly refuse to shoot when there's someone in terrible position they could be passing to instead and last but not least, Thomas Vanek sucking it up in a shootout. Then again, that last thing does prove that Vanek is still human. I was beginning to wonder.
Two things saved this game from being a total retread: A still perfect penalty kill (sexy!) and an outstanding performance from the back-up goalie. Patrick Lalime came pretty close to earning that point all by himself. Yeah, Vanek and Jason Pominville scored the goals but he was the reason it only took two goals to get the Sabres back in the game. It very easily could've been out of reach long before the third period.
Hopefully this was just your classic let-down game and the rested, disciplined Sabres will be back on Tuesday against BostoZzzzZzzzzz. I promise I will never write anything that even hints at being upset about a winning team again in my blogging life. The lesson, it is learned.
Somewhere - I forget where - I read a story about Lindy Ruff's 400th NHL win that mentioned his famous dust-up with Billy Smith. I've looked for footage of this for years because I once saw it on a game broadcast and thought it was AWESOME but hadn't been able to find it. When I was griping about it not being on YouTube a few days ago a friend pointed out that it was recently added and sent me a link. If you've never seen this, please enjoy. You can't see the interaction very well in real-time so please hang around for the replay toward the end of the video. Trust me, it's totally worth it. And belated congratulations, Lindy!