Buffalo vs Tampa Bay Recap: 6 Star + Bonus Edition

Rising Stars

First rising star: Paul Gaustad
That’s the Paul Gaustad that Sabres fans have learned to love. It has been a while since the Goose has played well in back-to-back games. Goose finished the night with one goal (Could be two, but the goal officials are blind at The HSBC Arena) and acted as if he was Antero Nittymaki’s shadow in the first period. He’s one of the few physical players on the Sabres that can hold his own in the offensive zone. Goose is probably the biggest body the Sabres have that can take the pounding inside the crease which is always beneficial.

It’s been a tough year for Gaustad. He started off very strong in the beginning of the year; hitting everyone in sight and was a key contributor on the forecheck. However, he got injured around Thanksgiving and was out for a couple of weeks and didn’t seem like himself upon his return. Over the last couple of games though, Goose seems to be back to his old self and is reeking havoc on the opposition. If Kaleta is out of the line-up for a long period of time, Gaustad is going to have to be the designated hitter for this team.

Second Rising Star: Patrick Lalime
Lalime looked good tonight. OK, who am I kidding…he went against a god awful team. However, I’m happy for Patty. If anyone has been an apologist for Lalime, it’s yours truly. If anyone should have a gripe with the back-up goaltending situation, it should be directed at how Lindy Ruff screwed up the goalie rotation. I found it kind of cool that Lalime got his 200th win in front of the home crowd that booed his ass during his last game he started. Of course, the crowd did give him a nice ovation at the end of the game, which will hopefully end the overhyped lovers quarrel between the two.

Third Rising Star: Tyler Ennis
OK, enough of these mixed messages from the Sabres front office. This isn’t like the hot girl that has like 10 guys at her disposal, and keeps the flavor of the month around. Keep this kid on the active roster. Find him a hotel room in Buffalo to stay at. This kid looks like the real deal. He looks so good in open ice and is always looking to get his teammates involved. His pass and skating on the assist of the Mair goal was one for the highlight reel. Now, who would I sit if Torres, Kaleta and Connolly return? Maybe Stafford, Mair and Ellis? I don’t care, just make room for this kid.

Forth Rising Star: Derek Roy
OK, maybe I should move Roy higher on the list. I mean he did have a hat trick. However, I kind of wish Roy’s biggest game moments wouldn’t come against the South East Division. Of Roy’s 22 goals this season, 19 of them have come against non-playoff teams. Like I’ve said before, the top six forwards have to show me they can score when it counts, especially against the better teams. But hey, a hat trick is a hat trick. Hopefully he’s coming into his own for the season.

Fifth Rising Star: James Woods
Look at James Woods dropping Tom Golisano’s name at the beginning of his interview during the first intermission. I think it’s the first time all year that Golisano’s name has been mentioned during a Sabres broadcast…considering that he doesn’t attend the games anymore. Woods was in town scouting possible locations for a movie he’s producing, which is always good for the city’s economy. Yes, Woods wasn’t exactly funny during his interview, even though Kevin Sylvester was doing his best imitation of Paul Hamilton laughing at Lindy Ruff’s jokes. However, it’s always good to have a celebrity in the house.

Falling Stars

1st Falling Star: The Tampa Bay Lightning
Memo to all the fans who b#$tch about hockey not selling in south: If the Tampa Bay Lightning were known as the Buffalo Lightning, no one would go to their games. No one would buy their crappy jerseys. No one would be partying in the plaza. They are a pathetic hockey team and play some of the worst defense this side of the American border. Chris Gratton and Dave Andreychuk are rolling over in their graves. I kind of feel bad for their fans to hear northerners call them out for not supporting hockey. I mean, how can you support such a pathetic product like that? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

2nd Falling Star: MSG
I can only assume that the reason it took over 15 minutes to see the replay of the Vincent Lecavailer spear of Tim Kennedy was because the TV crew was going gaga for having an interview set-up with James Woods. Maybe they were trying to get him the best beef on weck in the green room. First, you run to a commercial break with Lecavalier going to the dressing room without showing a replay of why he was going. Then you come back and not even bother showing the replay.

Yes, I get that the Sabres were going on a long power play, but you could have easily showed the replay during one of the whistles. For god sakes, the score was 1-0 when the spear occurred and it became 3-0 when they finally showed the replay.

Overall
Nice victory…but it’s against Tampa Bay. I don’t care how many closed door meetings the Sabres had today. They should be able to wipe the ice with teams like these. I still have some doubts, especially against a team whose name start with the letter “O.” BTW, THE SABRES ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!! Even a grouch like myself is happy for that.

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