Thursday, October 9, 2008

Prediction: Sabres season opener

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 10/09/2008
I always enjoy playing out big Sabres games just before they take place on my PS2...sort of "predicting" if you will. I set the rosters up so that they match the Game Day rosters, and I go at it.

Historically, I'd say I pick the winning team about 75% of the time whenever I do this, so it's pretty accurate. In fact, I've done playoff games in the past in which I get the score exactly right, even the goal scorers right on...it's scary sometimes.

Of course, with the Sabres season opener against Montreal - in Buffalo - less than 24 hours away, I had to play this game out. Bad news unfortunately, and I hope it's a different result on the ice...

MONTREAL 4, BUFFALO 3

It's a heartbreaker, I'm afraid. Sabres storm the Canadiens in the first period, outshooting them 18-4 in the frame(!), but Carey Price stands on his head and somehow Montreal skates out of the period with a 1-1 hockey game. Derek Roy opens the scoring 8 minutes in and on a nice pass from Thomas Vanek. Guy Latendresse ties it for the Habs with 1:19 to play in the period on a softie Miller should have had!

2nd period. Alex Tanguay pots a power-play goal nine minutes in, immediately making his presence known in his first game with his new team - 2-1 Montreal. But guess who answers? Craig Rivet in his first game as a Sabre - on a breakaway no less - two minutes later! Montreal was caught on a line change and a weird bounce let the Sabres captain get away. He went up high to beat Price. 2-2 after 2.

3rd period. Maxim Afinogenov shows he's back for 08-09 with his first goal of the season! Vanek another nifty pass for another assist. Goal came with 8:59 left in the game. Then the terrible happened. Montreal got a power play with 3 minutes to go in the game. They pulled their goalie and tied it with 1:36 on the clock. Then..even worse..Andrei Kostitsyn on a terrible Tallinder turnover beats Ryan Miller five-hole with 56 seconds left in regulation. Buffalo pulled their goalie but couldn't notch the equalizer. And so, a 4-3 loss. A wasted, quite good Sabres effort, actually, as they outshot Montreal 41-26.

And there you have it. Gee, I really hope that doesn't happen. But I'm real excited for the actual game, just a few hours away, and for 08-09 to finally begin! It's been a long offseason. Let's Go Buffalo!!

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