OTTAWA --- Lindy Ruff refused to watch the shootout. After all, watching didn't work, so why not? The Buffalo Sabres' luck finally changed in the extra session, as they improved to 3-9 with a 4-3 victory over Ottawa.
Unfortunately for them, the Sabres have to watch the standings. They didn't move up. Boston and Washington won, so the Sabres are still five points out of eighth and three back of ninth. But for one night, a win was fun.
10:15 p.m.: Roy wins it in a shootout. Sabres keep a faint pulse.
10:01 p.m.: Going to overtime, 3-3.
9:57 p.m.: Paul Gaustad's dynamic shift ties the game at 3-3 with 1:26 to play.
9:45 p.m.: Boston beats Toronto, 4-2. If Sabres lose (still trailing by one with eight minutes left), they go seven points down with five games left.
9:33 p.m.: Fisher, who had two goals in the previous 26 games, scores his second of the night with 16:56 left to give Sens a 3-2 lead.
9:09 p.m.: End of two, tied at 2. Sens will have power play for first 1:37 of third period after Sabres get nailed second time for too many men on ice.
9:05 p.m.: Announcement in arena -- Senators playoff tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.
9:03 p.m.: Sabres playing well, aside from those odd-man rush lapses. They must still believe, even though Bruins are beating Toronto, 2-1.
8:38 p.m.: Mike Fisher, who hasn't scored since, oh, about Halloween, ties game 4:17 into second. Two cross-ice passes create odd-man rush.
8:14 p.m.: End of first period, Buffalo leads, 2-1. But is nothing sacred? The longtime announcement of "One minute remaining in the period" had a sponsor! Unacceptable!
8:04 p.m.: Neil again goes after Mair, roughing to both, plus cross-check to Christoph Schubert, another power play for Buffalo.
8:02 p.m.: Pominville's stick breaks (what's new?) but Martin Geber can't handle whiff and Jochen Hecht buries rebound for power-play goal with 7:15 left in first. Buffalo, 2-1.
7:53 p.m.: Maxim Afinogenov ties it 55 seconds later. Two turnovers by Ottawa in its own zone.
7:51 p.m.: Jason Spezza scores 7:35 in to make it 1-0 Ottawa. Another two-on-one.
7:47 p.m.: Roughing penalties to Adam Mair and Chris Neil. Neil was reallllyyy quiet in Buffalo the other day, but he's always more noticeable at home.
7:38 p.m.: Game on.
7:06 p.m.: I love this town. The hockey is entertaining, the arena atmosphere is great, the restaurants rock and the nightlife has had more than its share of good moments. It's a shame this is probably the last visit for a while. Coming here during the playoffs the past two seasons was a blast, and we all know how dire the Sabres' playoff prospects are. Well, at least the draft is here at the end of June, but that's not the same.
Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was at his best this morning, talking philosophically on a number of topics. A few of them will be in the Sabres Notebook on Friday, but here's the ones that didn't make it:
*On the Sabres' future: "Whether we can pull it together this year or not, when you look around, the core of the guys getting experience here are 22, 23 years old. It's pretty amazing when you think about it. We've got a lot of potential here."
*He wouldn't mind getting tips from other goalies on how to handle playing every night, but he thinks the Sabres' talent will prohibit that: "If Marty [Brodeur is] around, it'd be fun to pick his brain. But I don't think he's going to give too many pointers being an Eastern Conference guy. [I'm] a goalie on a team that's got young talent and is going to be giving him hassles for a long time."
*On the analysis of his game, by himself and others: "It's just magnified now because I've been playing the vast majority of the games, and we're in a position now where we really have to make a run. So everything just gets magnified, it gets talked about. Even the other night, two goals go in off deflection, one's two-on-one, and people think I'm out to lunch. I really don't know what I can do different. I'm just trying to put myself in position to make saves.
"To start beating yourself up about those kind of things, the next game turns to crap, and then on down the line. I look at it as, 'Yeah, it was disappointing to lose, but it's a microcosm.' With my season, it's always about reflection, figuring out what parts of my game I can improve on."
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