First, I must share this with you:
Second, Sabres at Thrashers post-game:
I only caught the first half of this game on radio, so I had a friend text me the final score. Color me surprised when I heard that the game went to a shootout, albeit a loss.
The main thing to note is how Lalime pulled a rabbit out of the hat with this game; SABRES, YOU STOLE A POINT NOW RUN AWAY WITH IT.
I mean, in the first period alone, Atlanta outshot Buffalo 19 to 6. The Sabres got caught in the Atlanta end and gave Kovalchuk what amounted to a penalty shot -- half a rink of open ice and no defence to stop him but the goalie. When I saw Little's goal on video highlights, Buffalo's defence just let Little skate right through them. Again, not really Buffalo's finest moment of defence, especially when their blue-liners have been showing up 100% to every game prior to this one.
Chalk it up to back-to-back games or an off-day. But Sabres, you came away with a point and you still haven't been beaten in regulation. Plus, Vanek scored to keep his goal-scoring streak alive.
Third, Sabres vs Bruins pre-game:
If we play follow-the-pattern, it seems like Manny Fernandez will be in goal for Boston tonight and Miller for Buffalo. The Miller/Lalime tandem for Buffalo ranks 1-2 on the top goalies in terms of GAA (and 1-3 for SV%). The same can't be said for Boston, however.
The Sabres should aim for testing Manny as much as possible (stats-wise, he's not as good as Thomas and he hasn't faced the Sabres since 2003) and taking advantage of the PP, since Boston is only 70% on the PK. The Sabres also have to stay out of the penalty box; spending most the first period on the PK against Atlanta really diminished the ability to get their offence going, despite maintaining their 100% PK.
Pominville had a great single-handed effort for his game-tying goal in Atlanta; now it's Roy and Stafford's turn!
Fourth, some fantasy hockey news:
With the Chicago coaching debacle (can I call it that yet?), the "who's on first?" goalie drama is back for Huet, who hasn't been performing up to par. I'm this
close to dropping him from my team. Chris Kunitz is off too, replaced by Aaron Voros; I'll just ride his hot streak as long as I can. (Having Semin and Vanek as my other two LW doesn't hurt, either.) Lastly, I took Tobias Enstrom off the team and replaced him with Teppo, just for fun. My league still has some really good players left unsigned, so I can always switch it up.
Vanek -- he's never gonna let you down. By the way, who knew the New York Times could write about hockey? Not I! http://slapshot.blogs.nyt...-off-to-such-a-hot-start/
In any case, I've got a 50-point lead on the 2nd place team.
So my friend says to me, "Janice, why are you playing fantasy hockey?"
To him, I respond, "I just really like beating boys when it comes to sports."
Lastly, A List Of Sabres Who Are Performing Really Well But Have Been Overshadowed By The Hotness of Vanek, Miller, and Lalime:
1. Jaro Spacek! He leads the team with a +4 and has a goal and two assists. Plus, he's averaging a whopping 23:38 of icetime. You go, Jaro!
2. Teppo, Teppo! He's tied with Pominville for the team-lead of 4 assists. We should play "how many assists will Teppo get before scoring a goal?" I'm going to go with 24.
3. Maximmmmm Afinogenov! So he hasn't been scoring goals (yet), he's just registered 3 assists, but you know what's fabulous? He has exactly zero
penalties. The other notable player who has stayed out of the box is Lady Byng nominee himself, Mr Jason Pominville.
4. Aleshhh! Okay, so he's gotten some mention on Garth's blog and other hockey commentary. In any case, Kotalik is right behind Vanek's hot streak, with 4 goals of his own and 3 assists, but he averages 5 minutes less ice time than the likes of Pominville and Vanek. Plus, 4 of his 7 points comes on the PP, and he's scoring on 28% of his shots. Lookin' good, Ales Kotalik.