The Buffalo Sabres entered Friday night's game against the Washington Capitols with one goal in mind. The playoffs. A few minutes into the game things did not look good.
The Sabres were stuck in their own end up to that point and it finally came back to bite them when, guess who, Alexander Ovechkin flipped his 55th goal of the season into the goal to make it 1-0 for the Caps.
Four minutes later, Buffalo had their answer, as a Spacek point shot was tipped in by Drew Stafford and the game was tied at one. The party did not end there, as less than a minute later Clarke MacArthur scored on a back hand shot that went off a defensemen's stick and in.
At the end of the first, the Sabres were up 2-1 and things were looking up. That notion was quickly destroyed. Just under four minutes into the second, Alexander Semin got a five on three powerplay marker to tie the game at 2.
Nine seconds later, with Washington still on the powerplay, Spacek's icing attempt was broken up and immediately fired into the net by Sergei Fedorov. In a matter of 10 seconds, the Sabres went from a 2-1 lead to a 3-2 deficit.
Things were not looking good for the Sabres when, with a 1:43 left in the second, Derek Roy redirected a puck into the net. The Sabres' bench lit up as the game was tied once more. The excitement was short lived.
Twenty-three seconds later, Fedorov got his second of the night to put the Capitols up 4-3.
Now, as we all know, Ryan Miller has just recently returned from an ankle injury. I'm sure the Capitals were well aware of this fact.
Just under eight minutes into the third, Ovechkin made Sabres fans hold there collective breath as he picked up the puck and tried one of his famous cross over moves, only to go barreling into Miller at full speed.
Miller was uninjured on the play, but was obviously a little ticked, as he immediately punched Ovechkin in the face as he lay on the ice.
Now, as I mentioned in my previous article, almost as some kind of foreshadowing, though there can be no such thing in sports, Maxim Afingenov had been on a streak recently until bench for Adam Mair.
Well, on this night, he was back in the lineup and he picked up right were he left off.
10:21 into the third period, Afinogenov made his presence known as he flipped a Connoly pass into a wide open net to tie the game at 4. Makes you wonder why he was benched in the first place doesn't it?
The rest of the third continued uneventfully and the game was sent to overtime.
Then, the Sabres got the break they needed. 1:50 into the overtime period, Tim Connoly stole away a pass intended for Alexander Ovechkin and brought it in over the line.
He then flipped a beautiful pass in between the legs of a Washington player right to Jason Pominville, who fired it home to keep the Sabres' playoff hopes alive with a 5-4 victory.