Wednesday, March 14, 2012

AVS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Buffalo Sabres, 3/14/12

The Good Guys: Provided the most thrilling single moment of the season thus far (at least for me) on Monday night, as Gabriel Landeskog shook off a case of the flu and played a gutsy, hard game leading up to his dramatic overtime goal. That goal gave the Avalanche a supremely important second point, and keeps the team in the four-dog race for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, as well as (ssssh, don't tell anyone!) one single solitary point out of the 7th spot.

Bunch Of Dicks: The Sabres shook off a dreadful first half of the season, and have rallied themselves to within 4 points of eighth place Washington in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres have been led by star goalie Ryan Miller, who has found stopping pucks much easier since he learned to balance the other 18 Sabres on his back every game. Buffalo is led by head coach Lindy Ruff, which is the easiest name in hockey for a dog to pronounce.

We Like: What's not to like about Gabriel Landeskog's performance on Monday night? Critical game against a competitive Anaheim team, national television, battling the flu, and questionable to even participate in the game right up until warmup, Landeskog went out and played his usual hardnosed style, even though it was apparent that he was fighting it a little bit. When his team needed him the most, he came through, and it's the first truly memorable "Landeskog Game" in a career that promises to be full of them.

We Don't Like: There is absolutely nothing on this planet I like doing less than being forced to hope for a Detroit Red Wings win. These are desperate times, however, and last night, I wanted to see them beat Los Angeles to keep the Kings off the pace in the playoff race. Naturally, the Red Wings went out and got pummeled. Thanks guys!

Randomly: Longtime Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret is awesome.

Potential Hero: When you play the Buffalo Sabres, you're not going to score many goals. It's extremely important your goalie is sharp and focused, and lately, Semyon Varlamov has been up to the task.

Potential Goat: If at least one member of the Avs coaching staff doesnt instruct their players to whisper the words "Milan Lucic" into the ears of every Sabre player at every chance they get, they're not doing their job. Seriously, they all just stood there and let Milan Lucic truck their goalie, their best player. That's about 1500 flavors of gutless.

Final Thought: Two points tonight and a Phoenix loss (rooting for Vancouver, stomach turning) and Colorado is in 7th place in the Western Conference.

Sabres 2, Avs 1

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