So, the story is that Sabres coach Lindy Ruff left his mobile phone charger in his hotel room in Raleigh, NC following the Sabres' loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. Hotel staff offered to mail it to him, yet Ruff—certain his team would win at home in Buffalo to tie the series at 3 games apiece—told them he'd pick it up on Thursday.
Indeed, Ruff's confidence in his team was well-founded. Last night, the Sabres played their best 1st period of the playoffs and overall gave an outstanding performance for their last home game in the series. The Hurricane's rookie goalie Cam Ward (a mere 22-years old) was the only reason the score didn't become more lopsided. Sabre Daniel Briere scored an overtime goal to win the game 2-1, forcing that Game 7 in NC on Thursday.
Even though the Sabres-'Canes series was supposed to showcase everything the new, speedy NHL had to offer, many 'experts' didn't think Buffalo would be able to overcome their depleted roster. It's simply unfair how many injuries this team is currently suffering. Two defensemen and one forward are out for the remainder of the playoffs (Kalinin, ankle injury; Tallinder, broken arm; Connolly, concussion), while defenseman Teppo Numminen's groin injury in Game 1 kept him out of the entire series except for 4 minutes yesterday. Although Game 7 and the Eastern conference title could go either way, the Sabres have shown they can play tough, solid games without these guys. Which means we have more than enough to battle in the Stanley Cup finals, provided we win Game 7...
The OT win last night reminded me of a Sabres playoff win either in 1994 or 1995. I was in college in Western Mass, studying for finals, unable to watch any games or follow the series against NJ very well. It must have been a similar situation to that of yesterday's Game 6-possible elimination for the Sabres, or I wouldn't have bothered to find out the score. So, as I studied, I had the radio tuned to an AM news station, hoping for a score update every 12 minutes or so. The game had been tied at 0-0 at the end of regulation, forcing a first overtime (OT=a full 20-minute period), then a second, third, then fourth OT. Buffalo and New Jersey had played essentially two full length games without anyone scoring. At around 2AM, I wanted to turn off the radio, annoyed by the weather reports, but I kept it on in hopes of a heartening game update. Finally, they announced a Buffalo victory, 1-0 in the 4th OT on a goal by Dave Hannan. Last week I found this, Rick Jeanneret's broadcast of the goal.