Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. The predictions for this game were unified in one way. Last night was supposed to be epic. It was supposed to be a gut it out until the last minute, possibly an overtime, hard checking, tight, playoff-esque game. In a way it was like the playoffs. It was that game where one team knows it is their time to advance and thrashes the opponent. The Sabres took it to the Caps. And they made them look silly all night long. The final score read 5-1 and it felt that lopsided.
While the Sabres did not break the back of the Caps until the second period, it seemed like they lost a metric ton of gas every time the Sabres scored. While the Sabres looked hungry throughout the whole game, Washington was desperate. The difference between hunger and desperation is what it takes to win these games. Desperation is throwing everything you have at the game. It is making mistakes, it is losing game 7. Hunger is playing smart, playing hard, playing with urgency but keeping cool. It is winning game 7. Dale Hunter was right to say it was as important as a game 7. This was more than just two points. Whoever won, left the building controlling their playoff destiny. However, Dale Hunter was wrong to say it out loud. That is the sort of comment that brings desperation to the locker room.
The Sabres flat out won. Ryan Miller stood on his head, our offense was firing on all cylinders, and the defense played that incredibly frustrating everything to the outside d-zone scheme. Ovechkin had one solid chance, Semin scored one beaut, Holtby was chased. The Sabres played well on the kill, their powerplay chance was well played but fruitless. The play of the game though was Captain v. Captain, Pominville v. Ovie. Pominville stole a poorly handled puck at the blue line from Ovechkin, beat him in a foot race and then beat Neuvirth on a two on one with Roy. That was the back breaker. A shortie to put the Sabres up 4-1 eliminated all hope for the Capitals. At that point the Sabres fans were louder than Caps fans. Ovechkin broke his stick on the ice in frustration. The third period was all but arbitrary.
Positive notes: So damn good. Ryan Miller, Vanek, Stafford, Pominville, Roy. Those core members showed up. The new guys have been so solid. The Sabres have 30 goal scorers. That ties a franchise record. Ennis looks so great it is scary. This crazy system is working.
Negative notes: None.
Random Notes: Dale Hunter is a bad coach and was a horrible player. Ovechkin points streak ends. According to Sports Club Stats, the Sabres chance at playoffs has improved to 67.6%. Washington has moved down to 37% chance. The Sabres still have 5 games left. We need to win most of them if not all of them.
Early morning jamz: Banned in D.C. by Bad Brains