Thursday, February 7, 2008

Shootout Success

The Buffalo Sabres have finally turned the corner on the shootout, beating the New Jersey Devils 3-2 after going 2-0 in the skills competition.

The game was exciting and close, but the real excitement was in the shootout. All four games against the Devils went to the shootout this year, but New Jersey managed to win the first three. Buffalo finally decided to follow my advice on the shootout to give themselves their first SO win that didn't come against the worst shootout team in the league (yes, Philly's shootout performances have been worse).

First on the defensive side, Ryan Miller stayed back in his net, and kept away from the poke check, that wasn't working for him all season. Neither of the Devil's shots were particularly good, but the fact the Ryan Miller was able to stop both of them was critical.

On the other side Stafford just got a really, really good shot off, which Brodeur had no chance to save. Ruff did not include Vanek in his top three, and Kotalik was supposed to go third so there was no way to know how he would have done. The big surprise of course was Tallinder. It's rather rare to see a defenceman taking a shootout, and I don't think I've ever seen Tallinder on a breakaway before. After the game Ruff said that Tallinder had been a forward at some point back in Europe, but he seemed to be the only one remotely aware of that fact. Tallinder thought made Brodeur just look silly. Brodeur tried to run over the defenceman, but was easily side stepped and then helplessly watched as Tallinder shot the puck into the open net.

As to the actual game the Hecht, Pominville, Paille line got yet another goal, and Tallinder continued to have a great game, as he got an assist on the game first goal when Ryan tipped his shot into the net. In the regular game thanks also has to go to Kaleta who lead the team with five hits for the second night in a row, and Paul Gaustad who had four hits of his own, and won ten out of twelve faceoffs. For other top performers see my three starts of the game.

Official Three Stars
  • Ryan Miller
  • John Madden
  • Henrik Tallinder

  • My Three Stars
  • Henrik Tallinder (an assist, and a shootout goal)
  • Adam Mair (plus one, an assist, and won 67% of faceoffs)
  • John Madden (two assist, and plus two in the loss)
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