The big talk is, of course, about the "no goal" at the end of regulation. I didn't watch the game because I was having dinner with some friends, but I have seen the replay, and I've talked to some Sabres fans. Henrik Lundqvist made what was ruled to be a save against Danny Briere in the dying seconds. The on-ice call was "no goal". At the next whistle, the play underwent a lengthy review, after which the call was allowed to stand. Just like in the NFL, the rule with overturning an on-ice call is that the video has to show conclusive evidence. It did not. There was no video where the entire puck can be seen fully over the line. We know that it was under Lundqvist, and most everybody assumes that it was across the line while it was under him, but there just wasn't any shot of white space between the puck and the goal line.
Had the officials ruled it a goal, the game would have most likely gone to overtime, and there's no way of knowing what would have happened.
Buffalo fans are rightfully upset, and naturally draw parallels to "that game" in 1999.
Before 9 am this morning, I had two different conversations with friends of mine who are Sabres fans. At that point, I knew nothing of the controversy. They were both upset, but they were also levelheaded about it. Jean rightfully pointed out that it wouldn't have won the game. It would have simply tied the game. While it may have cost the Sabres a goal and a chance to win the game, it didn't cost them the game. Jeff was quick to point out that the refs also screwed up in the Sabres favor during game three when they overruled a Rangers goal by calling it a kick. In his opinion, the Sabres don't have the right to play that "the refs jobbed us" card because of that game 3 thing. I didn't talk to my other two Sabres-fan friends. Sadly, I haven't spoken to Amanda in months, so I don't know her take.
Kevin BFLOBLOG has a very sober take on the issue. Matt Sabre Rattling also has a similar view.
Just for funsies, JP from Japer's Rink has some neat analysis.
Across the board, they're all saying basically the same thing. The refs probably made a bad call, but with the video replays they had available, there was no way to overturn it. They're also all saying the same thing, which is that the Sabres have been outplayed for most of this series and
"goal or no goal, the Sabres got beat"
The only game in this series that I've watched all of was game 3. In that game, the Rangers definitely worked harder. All the commentary I've heard from Sabres fans is consistent, and it is that the Sabres aren't working hard enough in this series. Against the Islanders, they were good enough to win on talent alone, but were lacklustre. They can no longer afford to be lacklustre.
The biggest thing that I see is in the power play. Buffalo is just 3-25 on the power play in this series while the Rangers are 5/19. These are proving to be low scoring, tightly contested games, and a power play goal could easily be the difference in the series.
Buffalo is still the better team, and they still have the home ice advantage if they need it, but if they can't right the ship, none of that will matter.