Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Even though this game isn't over yet (or is it?) I thought I'd start writing. With 2 games in hand on the Pens, and 1 on everyone else, the Sabres needed this game to make the...Goose shorthanded!...standings look a little better.
Getting that long layoff, all the while their competitors continued to win, could have been quite detrimental to the Sabres' team psyche. But you know what was more important to the teams psyche? Tim Connolly's signing. Everyone in that locker room was ecstatic that they were able to keep Tim, and their excitement probably only grew as Darcy made moves to improve the team. But they had to take care of business, first up, the Habs and their 4 game win streak.
I mean, Carey Price the Train Wreck. The Habs have indeed been on a 4 game win streak...with Jaro Halak in net. The flu gives Price a chance, which he floundered in a 5-1 trouncing.
But Price wasn't the story in net, Patrick Lalime was. He single handedly kept the Sabres in the game through the 1st period and held the fort until the last minute. Lalime was great. Lalime was fantastic. Lalime gave Sabres fans across the country hope, and a chubby, for the team's success going forward.
As much as Lalime was a great story, tonight marked the return of both Thomas Vanek, and MaXIM (that's how I'm spellin his name, get over it) Afinogenov to the lineup. Guess what? Both were FANTASTIC. Thomas was himself, hasn't skipped a beat, freeing up space for Roy, Connolly and Stafford. Even though he was held off the scoresheet, we need him in the lineup to be successful.
But MaX, what can I say, I've been dogging that fairy princess for weeks. But tonight he turned in a performance that harkens back to when our jerseys were still black and red. He backchecked hard, worked corners, played smart, and only had a few inconsequential turnovers. Will these two turn out to be our most promising trade deadline "acquisitions"? Probably.
As you can tell, I'm pretty enthused over the progression of today's events. This race is only getting better and better.
Tomorrow look for a Deadline Winners / EPIC FIAL post, including a guest appearance from JTO from CLTS.