In their first game following the NHL trade deadline that sent their captain packing for Minnesota, the Sabres squared off against division rival Ottawa Senators tonight at First Niagara Center. For the first time since 2004, there is no more “Pominville” listed on the Buffalo Sabres’ roster. Many fans were sporting the number 29 jersey tonight in the arena and no doubt his presence was missed on the ice. But even with Thomas Vanek still out, and their captain on to bigger better things, the Sabres found a way to grind it out and win it in comeback fashion with a final score of 4-2.
Everyone knew this was going to be a physical game full of trash-talking between these rivals, and Steve Ott proved that from the start by getting tossed from the opening face-off.
Buffalo jumped on the board first with a snipe from Luke Adam on a feed from defenseman Adam Pardy. This was only Luke Adam’s second game of the season for Buffalo as he rifled home his first goal of the year.
Ottawa responded with a snipe of their own from defenseman Marc Methot to tie the game up at one a piece.
The physical play picked up late in the first, and Steve Ott continued to show why he’s a leader on this Buffalo Sabres team.
Neither side could break the tie in the second, but there was no shortage of physical play as both teams continued to grind it out on the ice.
Ottawa grabbed their first lead of the night early in the period, but Buffalo would stall their momentum with a goal of their own to tie the game back up, courtesy of Steve Ott.
The comeback for Buffalo was on as they regained the lead late in the third with a goal from Brian Flynn. Jochen Hecht kept the crowd alive with another goal just eleven seconds later, making it 4-2 in favor of the Sabres.
Despite the battery of shots put on by the Sens in this one, Buffalo would hold on to win it by a final of 4-2.
AJ’s Thoughts Oh the game:
Always great to see a Buffalo win against a team like Ottawa especially amongst a tough transition period with this team. Some of the younger guys on the Sabres really stepped up tonight and are proving why they deserve to be up in the NHL. But even with a win, I cant imagine there’s much motivation left for the Sabres this season. The upper management of this team has clearly thrown in the towel on this season and initiated the rebuilding phase and it became clear when they let go of Pominville for potential prospects. The guys on this squad might as well be playing for their job at this point. But then looking back to the Pominville situation… One minute he’s the captain of a sinking ship in Buffalo, and the next he’s a part of a team in a serious position to take a playoff spot this season in the Western Conference. Is a future spot on the Buffalo Sabres really that desirable going into next season?
John Scott got a noticeable increase in playing time, and the bruisers are doing their part to keep the fans at FNC satisfied for the time being. At this point for Sabres’ fans, I’m still following this team for the pure enjoyment of hockey and for the chance I might get to see Pat Kaleta beat the snot out of somebody; that’s about it.
The Sabres next game is this Sunday against the New Jersey Devils at home.