On Tuesday night in Buffalo, the Sabres did exactly what they needed to do. Perhaps it wasn't exactly the way they drew it up, but they got the result they needed. They won game six 2-1 on a power play goal just 4:22 into the overtime period. Home ice still belongs to the Canes, though. The two teams will duke it out on Thursday night for the right to play Edmonton in the Stanley Cup Finals.
I was working, and even though we were slow, I didn't get to see much of the game. Very little of the first, almost none of the second. I did get to see most of the third, and almost all of the overtime. My point is that I didn't see the "whole" game, so I don't think I can represent it fairly. My impression from what I saw was that Buffalo controlled the game. Carolina was having a hard time getting anything going, and their power play didn't look good at all.
As I wrote before the game, Buffalo needed to be disciplined to win this game. They were. They were penalized three times in the first period, and none after that. I also said that they would have to capitalize on their power play chances if they wanted to win. They did. They cashed in on one of their five power play chances, and it was the only one that mattered. Doug Weight went to the box for boarding at 2:28 of the fourth frame. At that point (I was watching), I had a very bad feeling that the Crossed Swords would do something about it.
Because I haven't seen the entire game, I can't really give thoughtful analysis other than that.
Eric Staal had his 15-game scoring streak snapped. Cory Stillman was able to extend his to seven games with an assist on Carolina's lone goal.
Carolina will enjoy home ice on Thursday in the deciding game. Aside from having the crowd on their side, the Canes will always be awarded the last line change during a stoppage of play. This, if exploited properly, can be of immeasurable worth.
Carolina is going to have to come out early and play aggressively. They will have to avoid the penalty box. They will have to take an early lead to get the crowd into it.
Puck drop will be 7:30 on Thursday. I wish it was already over.
3 years ago