An all-time classic. Sabres vs. Sens. Game 1. 2006.

March 23, 2020 - 4:08 pm
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The Sabres and MSG will be showing a series of classic Sabre games this week as the team sits home, waiting to possibly play again this season if things settle down with COVID-19. Before the Sabres classic games get rolling, I wanted to input one of my own.

On Monday afternoon I sat down to watch, what I think, is the craziest Sabre game I've every witnessed. The 7-6 OT winner in Ottawa in 2006. Throughout the game I took notes of what I was watching, which you can read below.

The game is on OLN, so the broadcast quality isn't the best. Speaking of quality, it's not HD or anything, but it's just good enough to enjoy the game for what it is. You can watch it in full here.

1st Period

1-0 Sabres: The line of Chris Drury, Derek Roy, and Mike Grier come out firing early. Roy flies in on a 2-on-1, gets the pass through for an easy tap in by Grier to take the early lead. The Sabres obliterated Philly with their speed in Round 1. If this is a sign of things to come, Ottawa is in trouble.

- The Sens are clearly trying to intimitade the Sabres. Wade Redden cheap shotted Paul Gaustad with a cross check to the teeth, and Zdeno Chara took a dirty, late run at Danny Briere well after the whistle. Good on Max Afinogenov for sticking up for his captain.

1-1 Tie: Jason Spezza ties it quickly after the Sabres take the lead. Tim Connolly and Thomas Vanek both stared at the puck and didn't cover Spezza up.

2-1 Sens: Ottawa adds another one seconds later. This time Henrik Tallinder loses his man. The Sabres took the crowd out of the game right away, the Sens brought them back. Brian Smolinski and his stupid smile gets the goal.

- Ryan Miller is having a tough time. Alost every puck thrown his way he's struggling with either not knowing where it is, or thorwing rebounds into dangerous areas. To be fair the defensemen in front of him aren't helping him out much.

2-2 Tie: Teppo Numminen with a rocket from the point ties the game. It's been very back and forth. Both rookie goalies look anxious. Nummen beats Emery on this one.

- Chara and Anton Volchenkov just cannot handle the speed of Briere and Afinogenov. This time on the forecheck they fumble the puck away because of the constant pressure.

2nd Period

3-2 Sens: Dmitri Kalinin makes his first real appearance. He gets caught cheating, and off Martin Havlat does on a breakaway. Havlat is so fast. He buries it.

- Briere is the Sabres best zone entry man on the powerplay, but he isn't getting much of a chance to do it. Campbell and Connolly are taking it the most.

3-3 Tie: Tim Connolly scores an incredible goal. His hands are so smooth. Undresses Wade Redden and beats Emery shortside, shorthanded. He and Roy have been the Sabres best players thus far.

4-3 OTT: Penalties are killing the Sabres. Jason Pominville takes a hooking call to put the Sabres down two men. Danny Heatley

- Afinogenov's speed is giving Ottawa fits. Mike Fisher could not stay with him as Max cut to the net. Forced to take a penalty. Afinogenov creates a powerplay with his speed.

- BUT, Afingenov can't stay out of the box. He takes his THIRD minor penalty of the game to end the Sabres PP.

- The Sabres all in all haven't had a lot of shots. They're pressuring in the o-zone, but aren't getting the puck to the net. Ottawa is testing Miller much more than Buffalo is Emery.

4-4 Tie: Tallinder joins the rush to create a 3-on-2 with Grier and Roy. Grier to Tallinder to Roy, puck in the back of the net. Roy is everywhere in this game and is already at 3-points.

3rd Period

5-4 Sens: Turnover by Tallinder starts everything. He and Lydman get lost thereafter, Drury can't get back in time to save them, Miller can only do so much. Mike Fisher gets the goal for Ottawa, he's been their best player all night.

- Ales Kotalik delivers an elbow to the face of Andrej Meszaros. In today's game he could've been tossed. In this game, no penalty.- Emery with a big stop on Taylor Pyatt. It does result in a penalty

- Emery makes a big save on Taylor Pyatt cutting to the net, but Pyatt was hooked. He and Gaustad have been physical, but not sure they've touched the puck much at all.

- Daniel Alfredsson would have had a goal if not for Briere's backcheck. Chris Kelly of the Sens hits the outside of the post there after. Ottawa is making Miller sweat almost on every play.

- The Sabres only have 16-shots on goal. There are less than five minutes left. Also, I haven't notcied Vanek since the first period.

5-5 Tie: The two players that have been the best Sabres on the night tie the game, shorthanded none the less. Roy creates a turnover in his own end, comes down with Connolly on a 2-on-1. Connolly does such a good job at freezing Redden with his stick handling, and puts it right in his wheel-house to tie the game.

6-5 Sens: Ugh that smirk. Smolinski. All alone on the PP. Head in your hands.

6-6 Tie: Tim freaking Connolly! This is when the game reaches peak craziness. Ottawa controlled the puck for thirty seconds before one final rush creates Connolly's game tying goal. Roy started it all by skating it in and chasing down a loose puck behind the net.


Overtime

7-6 Sabres: A single shot. That's all it took. A Chris Drury wrister from the circle. Emery was awful on the night and if I'm a Senators fan, I want him to stop at least four or five of the goals that got passed him.

This game was absolutley bonkers. The only thing it didn't have going for it is it was on the road. Derek Roy set the Sabre playoff record for points in a game with five. Connolly had one of, if not the, best playoff performances by a Sabre every. This was a battle between, what I think, were the two best teams in hockey that season.

The Sabres came out on top, so you do the math.

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