We're Talkin' Proud, or, The Believer
Rookie Jason Pominville scored shorthanded early in overtime on Friday to finish off the top-seeded Senators and send the Sabres to their first Eastern conference finals since 1999. Announcer Jeanneret's screaming response to the beautiful goal: "Now do you believe? Now do you believe? These guys are good.... scary good!" Few would have thought at the start of this season that the Sabres had a solid chance for the Cup. After beating Philly in six games and the speedy Ottawa team in five, Buffalo seems only to get stronger (and scruffier, with those superstitious beards) as the playoffs continue... And now it's on to Carolina to stop those 'Canes. (After that, the Western matchup should be no problem.)
Some truly weird statistics have surfaced during the Ottawa series, some of which make you wonder: who has the time to even think these up? Various Sabres records were broken in Game 1: shortest OT game; quickest Sabres OT goal; quickest Sabres goal after opening faceoff; most goals (both teams) in game; fastest four goals (two teams); tie for most shorthanded goals in one game. Also, for the first time in NHL history, the road team (Sabres) won a game when scoring a goal in the last minute of regulation and the first minute of OT. Second period of Game 2 was the only time in the series either team led the game by more than 1 goal. Buffalo's first goal in Game 5 (33 seconds into the 1st) was the fourth in the series less than a minute into a period. Oh, and Friday's victory was the first NHL playoff series-clinching win in Game 5 OT on a shorthanded goal. Wha? I surmise it was also the first time such a goal was scored by a player wearing #29 on his jersey.
Talkin' proud, indeed!