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The Official Site of the Buffalo Sabres


by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres
Saddledome (Photo: Getty Images)
5:30 PM: Face off is just 30 minutes away and I will be blogging throughout tonight's game against the Calgary Flames.  Check in frequently and feel free to send in any questions you have by clicking here

Here is some leftovers from last night's win in Edmonton:
--I hope you watched the interview with Drew Stafford's uncle Barrie before the game.  He is the equipment manager for the Oilers. He was reluctant to be interviewed, but was great and said that he told Drew on Monday night that he hoped he had a hat trick.  You know the rest of the story ( sorry Paul Harvey)
--Tim Connolly continues to be a factor. Two more goals last night and he now has 13 points in 14 games. He is a difference maker and one of the reasons why the Sabres are playing well in January with eight wins.  By the way, tonight's face off is an hour earlier than last night and Connolly told me earlier today that he likes the earlier time, so let's see if it translates into more goals.
--Almost everyone with ties to Edmonton scored last night.  Stafford (uncle is team's manager), Jaro Spacek and Jochen Hecht were both Oilers, Nathan Paetsch would attend games at Rexall Place as a kid to watch Gretzky, and Thomas Vanek was almost an Oiler with the offer sheet two years ago.  The only one not to get a goal was Clarke MacArthur.  He had an assist, and does have a chance tonight to score in his home province of Alberta.
--Rexall Place and the Pengrowth Saddledome here in Calgary are old arenas and it reminds me of the Aud, expecially the press box.  Both are catwalks high above the ice.  It's a great view, something lost with all the new buildings.

6:16 PM:
Miller had no chance on the goal scored by Cammalleri.  Butler rushed his clearing chance and threw it right into Cammalleri as he was cutting just inside the left face off circle. 

Miller made a great save on the first chance but had no chance on the rebound as it was an easy roof job for the Flames forward.  For Butler it was an uncharacteristic mistake by the rookie defenseman who has been praised for his solid, simple play.

6:40 PM: How Derek Roy was not awarded a penalty shot is beyond me. He was free and clear on a break to the net when Mark Giordano hooked him not once, but twice. A penalty was called, but should have a penalty shot. Anyone disagree?

Pat Kaleta (Photo: Getty Images)
6:45 PM: I am sitting a booth next to some of the injured Sabres and it has me wondering what it must be like for them watching the game.  It has to be difficult to watch knowing you would be out there if your body would let you and that you would like to help your teammates, but can't from way above the ice. 

It must also be frustrating seeing missed chances, penalties taken, and mistakes that happen in every game.  It has to be different from being a healthy scratch, as I imagine the emotion would be anger in that situation as your are able to play, but not allowed to. 

6:58 PM: Many of you have emailed wondering what happened to Adam Mair and why he is not in the lineup tonight. 

Mair suffered a deep cut on his leg while blocking a shot last night in Edmonton that required stitches. That has him out of the lineup and Andrew Peters in. I am not sure on Mair's status for Saturday in Phoenix.

Dion Phaneuf (Photo: Getty Images)
7:12 PM: The Flames are tough. They are using their size to keep the Sabres on the outside and away from the point. I can't think of a great scoring chance the Sabres have had almost half-way through the game. The shots are all from the outside and Calgary has everyone tied up on rebounds.
The Dion Phaneuf goal was excruciating to watch in person and on replay. He was just throwing to the front of the net and it appeared to deflect off of Lydman to squirt through the five hole. Ryan Miller just missed stopping it with his glove as it trickled across the goal line. 

7:27 PM: Lo and behold, the Sabres get to the paint and score. 

Drew Stafford with a power move to the net and jams in his own rebound. It reminded me of the goal he scored against Boston back in the fall at home that ignited a comeback to force overtime and an eventual shootout win. Four goals in two games now for Stafford, let's hope it's more.

7:39 PM: If anyone is wondering where the Sabres are at this point of the season, you're answer came in the second period. 

Down 2-0 in Calgary, against the third best team in the Western Conference, Buffalo came back to tie the game at two heading to the break.  That's no small feat and is an indication of the mental toughness that has developed over the past month. 

Now, the game is far from over and who knows about the third period, but the comeback in the second was impressive.

(Photo: Getty Images)
7:57 PM: Just received a question from Ringo in Kansas City:

I understand it's normally a combination of things, but what one thing do you most attribute to the Sabres offensive explosion recently?

This will sound simple, but it's confidence. They know if they play the system the chances will come, and they have adjusted to how goals are scored now; in tight with hard effort. 

8:08 PM: You have to hand it to Todd Bertuzzi. He has been the best player on the ice in the third period and that was before he scored the lead goal on the breakaway.  It was also a goal scorer's goal as he had Miller frozen before going top shelf. 

Still plenty of time for Buffalo to get the equalizer.

8:19 PM: Wanted to give kudos to Kurt Kielback before his two games are up filling in for RJ while he is on vacation.  I filled in for two games last season and will do so again Monday in Anaheim, and it's not easy sitting in the chair of a legend.  

Kurt is somewhat of legend himself having called all the Winipeg Jets games and with Phoenix up until last season.  Matter of fact, the press box in arena is called the Keilback Press Box.  It's been nice getting to know him, pick his brain and listen to his work.
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