Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sabres Ruin the Unbeaten Streak of the Rangers

The Sabres looked like the 2005-2006 Sabres last night playing a good game of defense and goaltending to beat the formerly unbeaten New York Rangers 3-1. Thomas Vanek was the star of the offense with two goals, one on the powerplay and one shorthanded. Vanek has become a penalty killing stud this season with two goals shorthanded. Ryan Miller looked stout in net stopping 19 of 20 while the defense looked great with additions Rivet and Numminen becoming nonexistant to the watchers eye by playing so well.

Paul Mara teed off on Patrick Kaleta after Kaleta took a run at him during the second period. This is the second time Kaleta has taken a run at Mara, last year Mara broke a few bones in his face during the check. This time, Mara unleashed a bunch of punches on Kaleta, while Kaleta turtled and took the punches. The result was a five minute penalty for Mara and a game misconduct. Mara after the game was not pleased.

"You know, it's two hits on me that he's jumped," Mara said afterward. "If you look at last year, he late-hit me and left his feet. ... If you watch the replay, he's off the ice on that one (Wednesday night) as well. I just made the decision, enough's enough from that little guy.

"If he was a man he would've dropped the gloves, and stayed in there. But I did what I had to do, and that's it."

Mara said that in the scrum that unfolded after he threw his punches, Kaleta started "asking how my face was. ... To have him say something like that, it's classless."

"He can leave his feet whenever he wants, and run around, but he doesn't have the guts to do anything about it," Mara said of Kaleta. "I'll remember it, I'll always remember it."

Kaleta has seemed to raise to the level of annoying pest like Ruutu or Callahan. In the cases of Ruutu or Callahan more times than not their actions hurt their teams rather than help them. Kaleta seems to know when to pick his spots and throw his punches when he can. I don't like the fact that Kaleta turtled in this situation and this has always been a knock on the guy. But he does what he does.

This team is looking an awful lot like the 2005-2006 Sabres. An undervalued team that no one thought was going to make much of a hay that now looks really really dangerous. The 2005 Sabres were underrated throughout the whole season. They will be in the same situation with the Canadians, Rangers, Penguins, and Capitals being the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference. With a fast start, this team will become a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference and in the Northeast Division.

Ryan Miller looked fresh in net stopping the barrage of 11 shots he had in the third period. Miller will stay this fresh throughout the season with Lalime taking a bigger share of games this season. Expect to see Lalime again this weekend most likely against the Thrashers. As long as Lalime plays well, Miller will play well.

This team is dangerous. Quiet and dangerous.

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