Buffalo (17-9-2) vs. Chicago (19-7-3)
Backup goaltender Patrick Lalime was on top of his game as he led the Sabres to a 2-1 victory
over Brian “Soupy” Campbell and the Blackhawks.
Chicago enters the night 5-0-1 against Eastern Conference opponents this season. Friday marked only the second time in seven years the Blackhawks have visited Buffalo. It was also the first time Brian Campbell has played in Buffalo since leaving the team.
For some reason, most of the fans in HSBC arena were booing Brian Campbell, as if he left the team on his own. Buffalo traded him, and Campbell made it clear that he did not want to leave the team.
Before the game began, the Buffalo Sabres had a moment of silence to honor the death of Mike Grier’s mother. Grier left the team earlier this week to be with her. Once he returns, Nathan Gerbe will be sent back down to Portland.
Gerbe is a very small player, and I feel that he could get crushed at any second. He better keep his head up or someone is going to give him a concussion. Gerbe is lucky that Patrick Kaleta is on his team. Other than his small size, he is a very solid player and is continuing to improve. He also had two points in the game against Washington.
After posting a shutout in Buffalo’s last game, Ryan Miller did not get the start in goal. Patrick Lalime got the call after a two game conditioning assignment in Portland. Lalime had his best performance of the year, driving the Sabres to a 2-1 win over the Blackhawks.
Chicago has not won in Buffalo since December of 2001.
There was no scoring until the second period when Thomas Vanek capitalized on the powerplay. Buffalo’s Clarke MacArthur would add the next goal for Buffalo, putting them up 2-0. Vanek and MacArthur each earned their ninth goal of the season, tied for the team lead.
After two periods, Buffalo went into defense mode, attempting to hold Chicago for the rest of the game. Luckiliy, Lalime was on top of his game. He stopped 39 of 40 shots, including 15 in the third.
Buffalo needs this type of effort from Lalime in every game he plays. A reliable backup would be huge, but if Lalime can keep this sort of play up, there will be no problem in goal for Buffalo.
Chicago got their lone goal just 30 seconds into the third, putting themselves right back in the game. It was Patrick Sharp who scored the goal, assisted by Buffalo native Patrick Kane (who the fans booed as well).
Chicago then pulled their goalie with a minute and a half to go in the game, but Duncan Keith took a hooking penalty.
With the win, Buffalo moves back into first place in the Northeast Division. Buffalo and Boston have been going back and forth for that first spot.
In the past two games against Washington and Chicago, the Sabres have only allowed a total of one goal. Both the Caps and Blackhawks are teams that can score, so it really shows how well Buffalo played against both of them.
The Sabres can impress me even more if they can get a win on Saturday against the Rangers. New York was idle on Friday, so they should be rested up and ready to go against Buffalo. The Sabres have to play back to back nights, so it will be a tough game against the Rangers.