Sabres 3, Hurricanes 2
Buffalo leads series 1-0
"I thought in the first period and the third period we were terrific. In the second period, we sat on our heels. We weren't skating out of our end, establishing speed in the neutral zone and establishing speed on the fore-check.
"We had some chances with an open net and [the shot] bounced away or the puck bounced over our sticks. We just didn't get the bounces."
I didn't catch a whole lot of this game (the league really needs to stop airing games on Saturday afternoons in May), but one important thing to note is that Sabres defenceman Teppo Numminen left early on with a sore back. Numminen is the Sabres third leading defenceman in icetime so far these playoffs, behind only Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder, and his loss could be a big blow to a team already without one defender (Dmitri Kalinin).
A lot has been made of how deep this Sabres club is — they do, after all, roll four lines perhaps more than anyone in the league — but where they didn't have depth is in Rochester, especially on the blueline. With seventh defenceman Rory Fitzpatrick already over-extending himself with 16 minutes last night, it'll be interesting to see how this will play out. My guess is Doug Janik or Nathan Paetsch sees their first-ever NHL postseason action. (Which may not be as bad as it sounds considering Paetsch was fantastic in the WHL and had a breakout year with the Amerks.)
By all accounts, this was a close game, and it should be a long series. The early difference? Ryan Miller, who held his team in the game during a somewhat lopsided third period.
Jay McKee's third-ever playoff goal was outdone only by Mike Commodore's first ever. That's the kind of secondary (thirdondary?) scoring a team needs to win this Stanley Cup thing.
Speaking of which, the Hurricanes really need Justin Williams to get on the scoresheet the way he did in the regular season. He was great in this game, but was again pointless, and only has seven points in 12 postseason games so far.