07 May 2007

Monday notes

On a personal note, I'm a bit too drained to give any detailed commentary on the Sabres/Rangers series. Saturday was spent in a bit of disbelief as to what I actually saw on Friday night (Game 5, see below). Yesterday's first period - from a Buffalo point of view - was looking much like said game 5, with the Sabres pressing hard with a good forecheck, getting quality opportunities that seemed to just miss...and then the Rangers taking a 1-0 lead. The break probably came at a perfect time for Buffalo as they came out and took control on the ice and scoreboard in the second period.

The goal of the game was in the third period, the second from much-maligned Jochen Hecht - having played a soft and ineffective series thus far, he finally notched one in the second on a beauty of a wrister but his late third-period goal proved to be both the game-winner and an amazing display of hand-eye coordination. This clip from nhl.com doesn't do it justice - seeing the slow motion replay shows how far outside the net the original shot from Daniel Briere was going. No idea how Hecht was able to bring that back.

Kudos to the New York Rangers who played the Sabres as tight as anyone could have expected. I know Sabres fans think they could have easily taken the first four games of the series but the Rangers could also make a case for having a chance to take games 2 through 5. The better team ended up winning but the Rangers are a lot closer to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference than anyone would have dared predict even a month ago.

In other news:

Out west the Anaheim Ducks await the winner between Detroit and San Jose, with the Wings being up 3 games to 2. For being a number one seed, Detroit has certainly proven a lot of people wrong thus far (mea culpa) and are on the verge of their first appearance in the conference finals since 2002 when they went on to win the Cup. Unfortunately for them they'll be without veteran defenceman Mathieu Schneider the rest of the way - he broke his wrist early in game 5. Schneider is one of the Wings most important players and while this may not necessarily prevent them from advancing tonight (or Wednesday), he will be missed. Brett Lebda (ankle) is already out, leaving the Wings with another replacement on defence. Who do they think they are, the Buffalo Sabres?

Alexander Ovechkin suspended for one game at the World Championships - read it in the Pravda! (aside - this paper is a riot...the pioneers of spin - it's probably good for us to realize that we didn't invent the concept...)

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