Buffalo Sabres vs. Vancouver Canucks @ GM Place
For once in my 'Game of the Night' history, the opener has NOTHING to do with the two teams. Pictured above, referee Kerry Fraser was given a rocking chair as a gift from the off-ice officials to commemorate his last game in Vancouver as a ref.
But enough of that. Tonight was meant to be a showdown between the two possible starting goalies of Team USA and Team Canada in the Olympics.
First period went scoreless due to the good performance from both Roberto Luongo and Ryan Miller. It looked like it was going to be a very tight game. And that got most people to wondering, "Is this how the Olympics are going to go?" Hopefully, but that blank scoreboard would change in the second.
Adam Mair beat our top goalie with a greasy goal. Just by going to the front of the net and being where they should be, Mair jammed it in and broke the scoreless tie.
We answered right back though with quite a nice goal (thanks to the help of Miller). Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson both headed towards the net strong and with confidence. Sams had the puck and it looked like he was about to pass to Kess. But - NOP! Ain't happenin' dudes! Kess acted as the decoy, went to the net hard, and tangled up his man. That allowed Sams to switch the back-hand, beat Henrik Tallinder, and get the biscuit between the legs of Miller!
And just 3 minutes later, we get the lead with one from the red-hot Henrik Sedin! Alex Burrows sprung Hank to life with a pass as he fell up to the Buffalo blue line and got the breakaway. Miller looked strong as he was out of his crease early and started tracking Hank. But he looked like a rookie when Hank faked the back-hand.
Just under 2 minutes into the third, Thomas Vanek got the levelling goal for the Sabes with quite a lucky one. The shot on net trickeld off the pipe, sauntered behind Luongo, and trickled past the goal-line before Louie's glove tried to sweep it away.
The GWG isn't one that a ceratin Canuck isn't going to forget anytime soon. After 111 games, Brad Lukowich got his first goal after a couple of years and his first as a Canuck! Daniel Sedin made the fancy pass through his legs after taking a quick peek at Luko for the Miller-beating goal.
Miller hit the road in the last minute of play to give them the EN. Burrs made a diving block and kept it a one-goal game as the Canucks managed to hold the Sabres to the neutral zone and only give them a few short breaths in their own.
The goals that beat Miller, shouldn't have. For being the elite goalie that he is, those goals were rookie mistakes. I don't know if it was his off-night or whatever, those were goals that Miller would probably have never let in.
(1) Daniel Sedin
(2) Adam Mair
(3) Brad Lukowich
(I love the guy in the stands with the thumbs-up!)
And now it's a special on "Lindy Ruff in an Uproar!"