The GAME of the night
Sabres 7, Senators 6 (OT)
Buffalo leads series 1-0
"Sitting in the locker-room before overtime, we felt like it might end quickly given the way this game was played."
When they said this was going to be a series that was based on speed, I don't think they meant the scorekeepers' reaction time. My, my — when's the last time teams managed 13 goals in a playoff game?**
The game was on over at The Globe's news desk, and by the end of the night, there was a small crowd taking in the game. Including overtime, the game's final two minutes had four goals — three by Buffalo.
Sportsnet host Don Taylor called it "wacky and wild," while reporter Ian Mendes said it was a "coach's nightmare." Listening to Sens coach Bryan Murray afterwards, that seems to be the case.
Neither goaltender played particularly well here, and Ryan Miller was particularly weak on a few of the goals scored. Ray Emery's failure to corral a lose puck on the Sabres' sixth goal also looked particularly ugly.
Also on the bad side, Sens defenceman Wade Redden, who was terrific in the first round, was -4 last night. Rookie defenceman Andrej Meszaros also seemed to struggle here, and I didn't like what I saw from a few Sabres defenders, namely Teppo Numminen (aside from a nice goal from the point) and Dmitri Kalinin.
The bottom line? When Derek Roy, Mike Grier and Tim Connolly all score more than Dan Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza, the Senators aren't winning that game.
** Nearly six years ago. On April 15, 2000, the Detroit Red Wings took a 2-0 series lead at home with an 8-5 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
The more you know
Buffalo: Sabre Rattling, Buffalo News
Ottawa: Hockey Country, Ottawa Sun
Ducks 5, Avalanche 0
Anaheim leads series 1-0
"The Game 7 in Calgary, we played really well and this was a carry-over of that. Sometimes you don't have so much time to think about the next series, and we just jumped into this series right away."
Despite the fact they had an additional four days off, the Colorado Avalanche looked simply lost tonight, and were outshot 14-4 in the first period before allowing four goals in the second. Avs coach Joel Quenneville's ants-on-a-log defence scheme seemed to be working wonders — that is, if you consider Jose Theodore flopping hopelessly in the crease a wonder.
Home-ice advantage afforded Ducks coach Randy Carlyle the opportunity to do some Grade A line matching here. Joe Sakic, who was so good in the first round, finished the game -2 and with just one shot, mainly because he was seeing a heck of a lot of Ducks forward Sam Pahlsson.
Running away with the game in the second was a major plus for Anaheim, as Carlyle was able to really dial down Scott Niedermayer's ice time. The Norris Trophy candidate played just 22:51 after averaging more than 30 minutes per game in the first round against the Calgary Flames.
The game also had bad news on the injury front for both teams, as Ducks rookie forward Corey Perry was scratched due to a knee injury and Avalanche winger Andrew Brunette left the game in the second period after he was crushed by Francois Beauchemin. I don't know where you found this guy Brian Burke, but kudos.
Speaking of which, I'll use this space to fill in the 'where Burke found this guy' story, courtesy of Eric Duhatschek:
Niedermayer will admit it: He'd never heard of his defensive partner before he landed in Anaheim.Speaking of Burke, should his team continue on its winning ways (this season, next, whatever), it'd be nice if the surly GM would guide his team's Stanley Cup parade all the way to Vancouver and then up to Stan McCammon's doorstep. Just to, you know, say hello.
"Not really," he said. "I never played against him that I can remember. Obviously, I'm a little bit older than him [32, as opposed to 25), so you sort of lose track of younger guys coming out of junior. So I didn't really know much about him at all."
Nor did Burke know much about Beauchemin at the time of the deal, either.
He credits the influence of Bob Murray, his senior vice-president of hockey operations, and Randy Carlyle, who coached in the American Hockey League last season, for providing a positive scouting report on Beauchemin.
"I didn't have a good handle on Beauchemin," Burke said, "but Bobby said, 'Do not make this deal without him.' He's been terrific, but, mind you, he's got a good gig. He plays with Scotty. But he's been good for us."
The more you know
Anaheim: Los Angeles Times
Colorado: Denver Post, MVN: Avalanche