This is the fourth article of a five-part series, chronicling the good and bad of the past Buffalo Sabres’ season. Our writers at Sabres Hockey Central take a look back.
What was moment of the year for the 2013-14 Sabres’ season?
Justin Banker – Butt Goal: The goal that gave Sabres fans a little bit of light in the middle of their equivalent of the “dark ages.” With only 15 skaters the Sabres kept digging and managed to get the most awkward of “bounces,” which saw the puck go sky-high off of a Pysyk shot, landing in the pants of Mike Smith who backed into his own net.
Brayton Wilson – Butt Goal: The game against the Phoenix Coyotes was a thrilling game with an unexpected ending. The Sabres were hindered due to the flu bug and saw Marcus Foligno, Ville Leino, Alex Sulzer, and Linus Omark out of the lineup. The Sabres started the game with three lines, and ended up with 11 forwards at the end of the game when Drew Stafford was handed a game misconduct in the second period. The Sabres won 2-1 in overtime thanks to the infamous “butt goal” scored by Mark Pysyk. The energy in the building was great, and both teams were playing as if they were division rivals throughout the game.
Adam Lindsay – Nolan’s Return: The moment for me, was hard to choose. There was utter disappointment this season from upper management, to the performance on the ice. After thinking about it, I decided on Nolan’s first game back behind the bench for the Sabres, against the Leafs. When Ehrhoff’s empty net goal went in, the camera focused on Ted. At the moment the horn went, he did a fist pump and knee kick reminiscent of the days he was here the first time around.
Kevin Freiheit – Besides the butt goal, I have to say my favorite was attending the Sabres game on Long Island in October. The Sabres were 0-6-1 but being at an away game as one of the few Sabres fans, having them win that game was fantastic. Buffalo trailed three times and Marcus Foligno’s goal in the final few minutes sent it to a shootout, which the Sabres eventually won. The game was back and forth and there was so much excitement throughout. Despite the fact I caught an Islanders t-shirt, I proudly wore my blue and gold and loved interacting with other Sabres fans at the Nassau Coliseum.
Chris Downey – Hasek Ceremony: With the unfortunate way this season turned out to be, this was a great ceremony for one of the best goalies to ever play the game. Despite the issues in the past with Hasek and others on the team, it was pleasant to see that this was a successful event and everyone in the locker room was pleased to see Hasek. Can’t wait to see his number get retired next year.
Jeff Pawlak – Nolan’s Return: Ted Nolan’s first game on November the 15th as the interim head coach will be one of the brightest memories in Sabres history no matter how poorly this season went. Nolan’s homecoming was emotional for both himself and fans, temporarily injecting the franchise with a surge of passion and enthusiasm after an extremely rocky start to the year. The game itself was one of the best on the year, which saw Buffalo take down their rival the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 in their first meeting since the infamous preseason brawl.
Ryan Wolfe – Leino’s SO winner: This April game was just unreal. At this point of the season, fans were resigned to getting a top pick but still rooted harder than ever for the franchise. Nathan Lieuwen was in goal, looking for his first NHL win. Game ended up going to a shootout, where it would take an incredible 9 rounds to settle a winner. Goalless Ville Leino took the ice and would score the game-winning goal, to a phenomenal reaction from the First Niagara Center crowd. An unbelievable game that still cracks me up to this day.