A bad bounce late in the third period tarnished what was a solid home debut for netminder Patrick Lalime at HSBC Arena.
Holding the Minnesota Wild scoreless for the first 57 minutes of play, Lalime finally yielded a goal late in the game as the puck deflected off defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and into the Sabres net to tie the game at 1-1.
“I was supposed to cover the back side,” Spacek said of the play. “The puck hit me right on the stick… It was kind of a bad break”
Lalime stopped the first 17 shots before Minnesota capitalized.
“[The goal] was the only opportunity I think they had in that period,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. “We didn’t give anything up for the last 25 minutes.
“I thought [Lalime] was very good… I thought the team was good.”
“We played pretty solid game at both ends of the ice,” Lalime said. “Offensively we created a lot of chances, especially in the third. We didn’t give them much. You can even see that in the goal… lucky bounce.”
Athough the netminder has only been a part of the team for a short time – signing with the Sabres as a free-agent this summer – you can also see some camaraderie forming as Lalime joked with his teammates after the game.
“We might have to go to dinner,” Lalime said of Spacek when asked about the deflection that led to the Wild’s goal. “I don’t know if it was something against me,” he laughed.
“I’ll save that for the regular season,” Spacek retorted. “These games are good for us. We played great, the end just wasn’t how we wanted to finish it.”
The Sabres will have their chance at redemption Wednesday night, closing out the home-and-home series with the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.
“I like what I see,” Lalime said. “A game like tonight I would take a few of those a year. I think everybody was committed at both ends of the ice. That’s the way you play a hockey game. A shootout could have gone either way.
Lindy Ruff reported that Dan Paille suffered a “bruised thigh” after taking a hard hit from Marc-Andre Bergeron midway in the second period. The winger left the game following the play.
“It just tightened up on him,” Ruff said. ““He’ll be okay in maybe a day or so.”
Paul Gaustad also did not return to the ice following the play. After Paille was hit, Gaustad circled back at the blueline to stand up for this teammate, “jamming his thumb” in the process according to Ruff.
“X-Rays are negative,” Ruff said. “We will see how he is in the next couple of days too.”
Tim Kennedy relished the chance to play for his hometown as the Buffalo native made his debut at HSBC Arena for preseason action.
The winger finished with almost 18 minutes of ice-time and participated in the shootout.
“There were a little [bit of ] nerves,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t think I was going to shoot because there are such good shooters on this team.
“I made a good move but just didn’t get the puck up.”
“He had a great scoring opportunity, he just put it wide when he cut into the net,” Ruff said of Kennedy’s play .”He had a chance in the shootout to do some damage… but not to be.”