[tab: Part 1]
10. Sabres @ Senators 10/8/10
The first game of the season was one to remember for Buffalo. It helped that Derek Roy had a spectacular goal for the first of the season. But the real reason Sabres’ fans remembered it is because they didn’t win again until October 20th. It was a bit of a precursor to the season, the best save of the game was made by Jason Pominville.
Miller had some good stops and Derek Roy and Tyler Myers combined on a nifty second goal as well. It gave fans hope that this is how the season would go. Holding opponents to 1-2 goals and scoring timely goals to get the win.
9. Thrashers @ Sabres 3/19/11
These games are always fun for the fans. When you crush a team 8-2 it usually ends up on a list like this one. Miller also got in on the highlights by stopping Evander Kane on the penalty shot. RJ got to use his “Yup, the Butler did it!” call even though Niedermayer was eventually credited with the goal.
Ennis scored on a breakaway even after Zack Bogosian threw his stick at him. The Mancari-Gaustad-Gerbe line was all over the Thrashers. Mancari got his first goal of the season and ended the game with a total of four points. The most memorable moment though, has to be Nathan Gerbe whacking away like a machine at the puck until he willed it across the goal line. This was the game people really started to notice the little Honey Badger.
8. Sabres @ Candiens 3/22/11
Ryan Miller was back on par in this game, shutting out Montreal. Remember what I said about Gerbe in number 9. Well two days later he was at it again. He scored the first Sabre goal off of a great deflection and followed it up with a magnificent effort. Montreal pulls their goaltender and Gerbe steals the puck with a diving play to knock the puck out of the zone.
He then tracks down the Montreal defender who has the puck, steals it from him and scores on the empty net. These Ewoks really know how to work. Another added bonus to this game was the satisfaction of beating Carey Price who was absolutely incredible in this game, the Sabres really had to earn this win and Gerbe did.
7. Maple Leafs @ Sabres 2/5/11
You always love it when you beat the Leafs, but this game was definitely better than most. The first goal was magical. Great steal by Pominville puts the puck on Vanek’s stick. Pommer jumps back into the play and lays out to knock the puck into the net. Drew Stafford netted a couple of beauties and Thomas Vanek scores his own rebound on the breakaway.
Cody McCormick decided that Mike Komisarek was getting on his nerves and pounded him. Oh, and I proved once again that I know more than Harry Neale as Paul Byron and Tomas Kaberle get into an altercation and Neale says Byron hasn’t been in a fight before. He is wrong, Byron has six AHL fights under his belt, look them up.
6. Ducks @ Sabres 12/21/10
A game that started out fun and just kept getting better, the Sabres beat the Ducks in more ways than one. On the opening faceoff McCormick and Getzlaf drop the mitts for a spirited bout. 5 seconds later it is Gaustad and Chipchura dancing in another good fight.
Tyler Ennis scores two, Gerbe gets his first of the season and Stafford gets a beauty. For nostalgia sake it is still nice to see Craig Rivet score, which he does in this game. Oh yeah and Ryan Miller commits highway robbery on Bobby Ryan after a great play by Joffery Lupul. Rick Jeanneret criticized Mike Weber for taking on George Parros later in the game, but I have to admire his toughness and while I’ll give Parros the win, Weber really showed me something in this bout.
Click “Part 2” at the top of the page to continue the countdown.
[tab: Part 2]
5. Bruins @ Sabres 1/1/11 “Happy Drew Year”
When a game ends 7-6 in favor of you team, you must have enjoyed. #HappyDrewYear was the trending topic on twitter as Stafford got yet another hat trick. The beginning of this game was frustrating for Sabres’ fans, getting used to Kevin Sylvester and having the Bruins racking up goals, it wasn’t too fun.
Then Pommer scores and gets bumped and a wall of Sabres shows up to defend their teammate, it’s getting fun again. McCormick takes on McQuaid and then Vanek scores a nice one and it’s getting even more fun.
Then the Drew Stafford show began as he nets two in a row to tie it up. Some back and forth hockey put the Sabres down with :30 to go and it was looking to not be fun again. That was until Stafford scored the tying goal to complete the hattrick and send it to the shootout. The Sabres would win in the shootout, making New Years Day very fun for Sabres’ fans.
4. Blue Jackets @ Sabres 12/3/10
The Sabres won this one 5-0 so you know it was a good night. They also went 2-3 in the fight department and just had a grand old time in their home whites. Ennis makes a great play so Hecht can follow up and the game had begun. Pominville, Ennis, Vanek and Stafford all scored eerily similar goals camped by the side of the net and Buffalo was really clicking.
Miller made some nice saves to preserve the shut out, but that wasn’t the story of the night. Cody McCormick dropped Mike Commodore with a right handed haymaker and Steve Montador stood up for Pominville while getting lit up by Jared Boll. Those two fights had nothing on Patrick Kaleta’s left fist, which he unleashed on Derek Dorssett in what is probably the best fight of the year.
3. Sabres @ Wild 3/6/11 “We’re In Game”
I attended this game so maybe I’m a little biased, but it was really an incredible one that had fans in the stands calling it the “We’re In Game”. Jason Pominville scores early and then Rob Niedermayer scored his first of the season. Those of us at the arena were truly shocked and excited. Then Minnesota mounted a comeback taking the game to overtime.
At this point Sabres’ fans were excited, we gained a point and were now in the top 8 for the first time this season, on pace to make the playoffs. Drew Stafford made it that much better. He lowered the shoulder, got the edge and scored a great goal to get the win for Buffalo. Jhonas Enroth was great in this game as he was for most of the stretch run for the Sabres. McCormick had a quick fight in this game too.
2. Flyers @ Sabres 4/8/11 “Fan Appreciation Night”
Boy was this a game to remember and for fans to appreciate! In front of what appeared to be every Sabres’ alumni since the very first game, Buffalo put on a show. Gerbe scores on a slap shot and then Vanek makes an incredible pass to spring Pominville and Buffalo jumps out to a 2-1 lead.
The Flyers took the lead back until Nathan Gerbe decided he wanted to score the spinnerama and no one was going to stop him. Follow one highlight reel goal with another as Vanek goes coast to coast and embarrasses Philly’s “D” for one of the most beautiful goals of 2011. You aren’t going to watch many Sabres’ games as fun as this one, but wait…it’s number 2…
1. Sabres @ Hurricanes 4/3/11 “The Clincher”
This was the time that a normal Sabres team would have blown it, but they didn’t, in fact they were incredible. Chris Butler scored his first and showed so much emotion. Then Enroth made the save of the year without his mask on.
That was a moment for me. Montador shields his face while McCormick tackles two players in the corner. It was a team win. The PK was clutch; the goaltending was great; it was a playoff game. The only goal they allowed was a fluke that went off of Sekera’s glove. They played with the pressure on them and they didn’t crack. Marc-Andre Gragnani with the OT winner for his first career goal was just icing on the cake.
Click “Part 3” at the top of the page for some honorable mentions.
[tab: Part 3]
Honorable Mention Games:
Rangers @ Sabres 3/30/11
Enroth is spectacular as the Sabres officially clinch a playoff spot.
Red Wings @ Sabres 2/26/11
A game they didn’t win, but they played hard anyways; Andrej Sekera with the game of a career.
Capitals @ Sabres 11/13/10
Their first win of the season on home ice capped off by the goal of the year from Thomas Vanek in OT.
Canucks @ Sabres 11/15/10