"Sabres Flashback Friday":Series 1, Episode 2

18 games to go, Sabres fans, we’re officially in the teens. And although our team is nowhere near a playoff berth, the end of the year will still feel like a playoff push for the bottom of the rankings. For obvious reasons I won’t get into the why the focus is on the bottom, but for the rest of the season just keep your eyes on Edmonton and Arizona, especially the Coyotes, they have lost 10 straight.

When looking for a game to do a flashback recap on, I had no intentions of picking a game in which the Sabres played Arizona (Phoenix at the time). In fact, I almost feel like recapping this game could bring about some kind of curse and send the Sabres on a 18 game winning streak to finish out the season. Or, it could have the opposite effect. Regardless, the two games against Arizona at the end of this month could be the biggest games of the season. Don’t be surprised if you see this happen maybe once or twice in one of those games:

So to commemorate “the Tank” and the quest to 30th, here is this week’s “Sabres Flashback Friday.”

Date: March 6th, 2009
Game: Buffalo Sabres vs. Phoenix Coyotes
Goal Song: “Zombie Nation” by Kernkraft 400

Buffalo Sabres (33-25-7)

Forwards
Vanek-Connolly-Stafford
Hecht-Gaustad-Pominville
Paille-Roy-Afinogenov
Moore-Mair-Kaleta

Defenseman
Butler-Rivet
Tallinder-Lydman
Spacek-Sekera

*denotes still on current team

Starting Goaltenders: Patrick Lalime (BUF) vs. Ilya Bryzgalov (PHX)

Going into this game, the Sabres were just 3 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 8th and final playoff place. A strong push for the playoffs was weakened by the injury of their ace goaltender Ryan Miller and the Sabres had to turn to their backup Patrick Lalime to keep their playoff hopes alive. In his 10-year career, at the time, Lalime was most successful against the Coyotes and even had a shutout streak against Phoenix of 129 minutes, and 44 seconds snapped in the third period when Matthew Lombardi would score the only goal for the ‘Yotes. I wonder if Tim Murray would rather have ’09 Patrick Lalime behind the pipes rather than the current Anders Lindback (I joke, I joke).  

Highlight Player: Tim Connolly

Connolly had, at the time, a career-best four points in this game (2 G, 2 A). After speculations of him being traded led to him signing a two-year, $9 million contract extension a few day before this game, he was really able to show why Buffalo should feel confident in signing him to that contract. With the four-point night, he improved to five points in two games and would continue to go on a hot streak to round out the year. Here are some highlights of this game. It's neat to see Patrick Kaleta's peak physical play wear teams down.

Result: Sabres 5, Coyotes 1

A result not too many Sabres fans would approve of this year, but a huge win for the team at the time. Although the weren’t able to make it to the playoffs, due mostly to the loss of Ryan Miller, I can still remember watching every single game and just hoping for that chance of a playoff berth. Here we are, six years later and we’re watching the same two teams, as if they were in playoff contentions, race to the bottom. As the Little League Pledge goes, or so I remember parts of it going, “win or lose, I will always play my best.” Well, Arizona, it’s clear to see that you like losing too, but come March 26th there can only be one loser and you should be expecting the Sabres to play their "best" too.