I'm not allowed to say "The Canes (insert word here that rhymes with 'meat' and is antonymous with 'lost to') the Sabres". So I'll start by saying:
The Canes ♭e@♰ the Sabres 4-3 on Wednesday night.
It was a strange game that featured no scoring in the first period, and single period outbursts by each team.
In the second period, the visiting Canes exploded for four goals, two of which came on four-on-four sequences. It all started at 6:43 of the second when K-Ads ripped a one-timer past Ryan Miller from below the left circle. They were coming in on a three-on-one break which was perfectly executed by Brindy(32nd assist), Viva (40th assist), and Adams (14th goal).
At 8:46, Cory Stillman helped the Canes stretch the lead to 2-0 when he poked one in from the low slot, catching Miller off guard. It was the 18th goal of the season for Stillman, the 49th assist for Eric Staal, and the 19th assist for Tevvy.
At the start of a very productive four-on-four sequence, Anton "Yentl" Babchuk finished a really pretty play by wristing one home from high in the slot at the 17:03 mark. It was started by a long two-line pass from Frantisek Kaberle (34th assist) to Matt Cullen. Cully (20th assist) dumped it for Babs, who notched his fifth goal of the season.
At the end of that same four-on-four, Viva finished a completely eye-popping play to make it four-nil at the 18:15 mark. This one was started down in the Carolina end when Henrik Tallinder broke his stick on a shot attempt, which resulted in a turnover. Carolina entered the Sabre zone with somewhat of an advantage, and Williams patiently worked his way down near the goal. Tallinder, who was without a stick and was beaten, resorted to holding Williams. Williams managed to get a shot off, which was stopped by Miller. However, Miller didn't control the puck and Williams was able to bat it out of mid-air as he was being dragged down by the stickless Tallinder. Officially, it was a wrist shot from 19 feet, which sounds about right for the initial shot, but really it was more like a tip-in from 2 feet. I'm not doing a good job of describing the beauty of it, but it was really pretty. It wasn't quite on the same par as Ovechkin's nasty rolling on his back goal, but it was pretty acrobatic nonetheless.
We thought the flood gates had opened. Little did we know, there was a little boy with his thumb in the dike. The Sabres not only stopped the bleeding, but they mounted a furious rally of their own to make it too close for comfort at the end.
Jason Pominville scored for the Sabres at 2:50 of the third. He redirected a slow-moving, broken-stick shot from Toni Lydman.
At 10:56, Thomas Vanek (who I named as my Calder winner in my pre-season picks) scored a beautiful goal. Although Derek Roy and Maxim Afenogenov got assists on the play, it was the outstanding individual effort of Vanek that earned him the goal. He started off at the wall, down near the goal line. He weaved his way through traffic, parallel to the goal line, faking Eric Staal and Glen Wesley along the way. He did some nifty puck handling, moving it from his forehand to backhand, and back to forehand before beating Gerber badly on the shot.
Jiri Novotny finished a two-on-one shorthanded breakaway at 12:54 to make it 4-3. Daniel Briere and Tallinder got assists on the play. In my estimation, Eric Staal was too unselfish on the powerplay. He had a good chance for a wrap-around, but opted to center a pass instead. Which lead to another pass and a turnover.
This would be the final goal of the game, meaning that Justin "Viva" Williams' acrobatic goal was the game winner. For that, and his one assist, he was named the game's first star.
Eric Staal's assist extended his points streak to seven games. Keep your eye on the Staal point monitor to the right. He's up to 91 now.
Finally, the brutal road trip is over. The Canes will return home for four straight games, starting with a Saturday matchup against the Capitals.
4 years ago