Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Roy Scores OT Winner, Saves Buffalo's Playoff Hopes

The Sabres skated into the locker room after a period of play as boos echoed from the fans at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. The Sabres had fallen into a 3-0 hole against the Maple Leafs, and seemed to have watched their chances at a playoff berth fade away.

However, when the puck dropped for the second period a revitalized Sabres team seemed to have taken the ice. After a period that was dominated by the Sabres, who out-shot the Leafs 19-6, and goals by Tyler Ennis and Alexander Sulzer, the Sabres pulled within one goal of the Leafs with one frame to play.

After a back-and-forth first 13 minutes of the third period, and goals by Toronto's Clarke MacArthur and Jake Gardiner and Buffalo's Derek Roy the Sabres found themselves once again down by two with a score of 5-3.

With just over five minutes remaining in the game Sulzer found the puck and pushed it just over the line and past Toronto's, Ben Scrivens, for  his second of the game, bringing the Sabres within one. Sulzer's late goal also set up Jordan Leopold's late game heroics to tie the game.

A scrum with all ten skaters on the ice in Scrivens' crease unfolded with under two minutes to play, after a prolonged time with no whistle, Leopold jammed the puck from under a Leafs' defense-man and passed Scrivens' bringing the sold out crowd in Buffalo to the feet.

Going into overtime both the Sabres and the entire hockey world understood that the Sabres could not settle for anything less than two points. When Dion Phaneuf took a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass just under two minutes into the extra frame the Sabres' heroics continued.

After Thomas Vanek walked out of the corner, and tried to power a shot past Scrivens, the rebound bounced into the slot where Roy had slid down from the point. Roy picked up the puck and buried his second of the game and the saved the Sabres' chances at making the playoffs. 

After the Sabres' dramatic win, they find themselves with 88 points and tied with the Washington Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have two games remaining and with the Capitals holding the tie breaker the Sabres will have to win their remaining games and hope for the Caps to stumble down the stretch.

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