Sabres Take First Place In Eastern Conference
Buffalo (29-11-6) at Phoenix (28-16-5)
With the New Jersey Devils loss, Buffalo had a chance to take over first place in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix and Buffalo met once earlier this season back in the beginning of the season, with the Sabres winning 2-1. The Sabres come in with 7-0-1 record against the Western Conference this season. However, six of those eight games were at HSBC arena.
Buffalo got off to a quick start due to a Tyler Myers slap shot. Myers earned his seventh goal of the season with assists from Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford. Buffalo held Phoenix to just four shots in the first period.
Chris Butler tallied his first of the season in the second period. Butler's shot trickled by Ilya Bryzgalov to put the Sabres up by two. Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy earned the assists. The goal leaves only two Sabres without a goal this season: Adam Mair and Craig Rivet.
Just seconds later, Steve Montador wound up for a slap shot, but broke his stick on the shot. Patrick Kaleta picked up the puck, and scored from the side of the net, putting the Sabres up 3-0. The goal was Kaleta's eighth of the season.
After allowing three goals on 13 shots, Bryzgalov was pulled, allowing Jason LaBarbera to see some ice time. Phoenix finally got on the board when Shane Doan tipped in a rebound past Ryan Miller
Just 24 seconds after the Coyotes scored and had momentum going, Jason Pominville ripped home a shot, bringing Buffalo's lead back up to three. Tim Connolly earned an assist on the goal, extending his point streak to twelve games.
Jochen Hecht took a shot from the point that deflected off of Adrian Aucoin, and into the net. Jason Pominville and Tim Connolly assisted on the play. After two assists, Thomas Vanek's hard work finally paid off. Vanek earned his 13th goal of the season.
Halfway through the third, the Coyotes found the net again. The shot deflected off of Derek Roy and into the net for the second Phoenix goal of the night. Radim Vrbata got credit for the goal, but his team still trailed by four.
After a takeaway, Jason Pominville tipped the puck in, giving him his second goal of the night. Miller earned his 27th win of the season, making 23 of 25 saves in the game.
Kevin "Seven For Sabres" Freiheit