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Sabres netminder turns away 41 shots to earn the victory

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 10:01 PM ET / THE AFTERMATH
By Kevin Snow  - (@kwsnow)
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6:43 Greetings from the First Niagara Center press box, as we await the start of tonight’s game between the Buffalo Sabres (5-3-0) and Columbus Blue Jackets (1-7-1). The chill of the arena matched the outside temperature today, with the first snow of the season sighted here in Western New York.

Click here for Lindy Ruff's post-game podcast

6:47 Let’s take a look at some of the storylines heading into tonight’s game...
6:47 ** Thomas Vanek leads Buffalo in scoring with 11 points (7+4), and has collected at least a point in 7 of 8 games.
6:48 ** The Sabres are winless in two games at FNC this season. Their only “home” win was a 4-1 opening night decision over Anaheim in Helsinki.
6:49 ** This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Jackets this season. The Sabres are 4-7-1 all-time against Columbus; 3-4-0 here in Buffalo. They will renew acquaintances on Friday, November 25 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
6:50 ** Buffalo’s penalty killing is 23/25 (92%, 3rd in NHL) through 8 games, while the Jackets PK is a league-worst 21/31 (67.7%).
6:51 ** The Sabres PP is 1/17 in the last six games; 4/25 (16%) overall … Columbus is 5/45 (11.1%, 26th) with the man advantage.
6:52 ** Columbus has had 45 PP opportunities in 9 games, second-most in the league to Vancouver’s 47.

7:00 SABRES STARTERS: Leino-Roy-Stafford .... Ehrhoff-Sekera ..... and starting in goal ... Jhonas Enroth!
7:01 COLUMBUS STARTERS: Umberger-Vermette-Johansen .... Wisniewski-Tyutin ... and Steve Mason will be tending the twine tent tonight.
7:02 Buffalo Scratches: Weber, Hecht, Ennis
7:02 Columbus Scratches: Methot, Savard, Sanford
7:08 Nice touch tonight with both anthems being played on the organ, and the fans singing along. Maybe I will get my wish of a night of all-organ music during a game!
7:11 And we're underway from downtown Buffalo!
7:13 Three whistles in the first 52 seconds. Could be a long night...
7:14 McCormick nearly sprung free after blocking Clitsome's shot. Another good start for that line.
7:17 Kaleta making his presence felt early with a healthy bump on Moore in the Jackets zone.
7:18 A real contrast in size with tonight's goaltenders. Jhonas Enroth stands 5'10" and 166 lbs; while Columbus starter Steve Mason is 6'4", 217 lbs.
It puts a smile on your face to see him win. He just has a calmness and patience about him. He never seems to get lost or out of control in his crease. - Lindy Ruff on Jhonas Enroth
7:19 Enroth with a nice blocker stop on the always dangerous Rick Nash, who got the shot off just outside the hashmarks
7:21 Adam juuuust misses in front, taking a nice cross-ice feed from Vanek
7:22 12:34 left in the 1st. Columbus holds a 6-3 lead in shots.
7:23 I'd like to remind you that healthy really does change everything. Which is why I've opted for a granola bar from the press box buffet instead of a hot dog.
7:24 Unfortunately it doesn't cancel out the Gabriel's Gate wings I consumed last night.
7:26 Kaleta and Cody Bass each get sent off for roughing. But Bass somehow escaped punishment for the headbutt he dropped on Kaleta's melon.
7:29 Yet another whistle, just moments after Regher hammered Vermette into the end boards.
7:32 Kaleta and Bass get into it again after a scramble in front. After feeding Bass with a flurry of lefts, he bodyslams Bass to the ice ... twice.
7:34 Talk about your surprises -- after being honored as tonight's Tickets for Troops recipient, Jacob Wellsted drops to his knee and proposes to his girlfriend. SHE SAID YES! (But then again, can you really say no in front of 18,688 people?)
7:35 Kaleta and Bass each pick up 5 for fighting, and Kaleta is also handed the extra 2 for roughing. But again ... what about the Bass headbutt earlier?
7:36 Wisniewski tees up a point shot that rings off the post behind Enroth
7:37 The Columbus d-pairing of Wisniewski and Tyutin have to be a sportswriter's nightmare.
7:39 Sabres head to their first PP of the night when Roy is hooked by Aaron Johnson in the corner.
You've got another guy that can really shoot the puck ... he's made his living out of doing that ... He should gain a little confidence with that. - Lindy Ruff on Brad Boyes
7:40 GOAL!
7:41 Brad Boyes finishes off a nifty passing play with Vanek and Pominville, burying a shot from one-knee past a screened Mason. (14:07, pp)
7:42 That's Boyes 2nd goal of the year (and second in as many games) -- and Buffalo's second PP goal in their last 18 opportunities
7:46 With his assist on Boyes' goal, Jason Pominville now leads the NHL with 9 assists.
7:47 The Sabres are 4-2-0 when scoring first this season ... Columbus is 0-5-1 when the opponent gets on the board first.
7:50 Last minute of play...
7:53 CODY McCormick and CODY Bass square off in front of the Jackets net, with Buffalo's Cody coming out on top - literally.
7:54 Cody Bass now had 12 mins of penalties (2 fighting majors, roughing minor) in 1:54 of ice time during the 1st period.
7:55 After 1 period of play: the Sabres lead 1-0 ... Columbus holds a 17-13 edge in shots

8:12 The second period is underway.
8:15 Mason stones Stafford in close, then Roy fires the rebound wide
8:17 Already a better pace to this period, instead of the barrage of whistles we started the first period. And just as I'm writing this, Columbus ices the puck.
8:18 Buffalo held a 19-12 lead in faceoffs after the 1st. Paul Gaustad topped both teams with 8 wins.
8:18 GOAL!
8:20 The population goes up! Jason Pominville taps home the rebound after Thomas Vanek's misfired slapshot catches mason off balance. (4:51)
8:21 Jhonas Enroth keeps the Jackets off the board with a sprawling save on Vermette who nearly ends up on top of him in the crease.
8:26 11:22 left in the 2nd ... shots are even 3-3 so far this period.
8:30 Luke Adam picked up an assist on Pominville's goal, and is now tied with Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the rookie scoring lead with 8 pts.
8:31 Another big save by Enroth as he shuts the door on the always dangerous Nash
8:35 After Ehrhoff has his shot blocked in the Jackets zone, Vinny Prospal is sent in alone on Enroth and buries a wrister into the net. (12:10)
8:37 Jackets are buzzing after getting on the board, as Prospal gets another chance to try and even it up.
8:40 Nash and Prospal have combined for 6 of Columbus' 12 shots this period.
8:44 Adam just misses the open net as the Sabres apply pressure on Mason.
8:46 Columbus is turned away on three good scoring chances late in the 2nd.
8:50 End of 2nd: Sabres lead 2-1 ... Columbus outshoots Buffalo 16-6, for a 2-period total of 33-19.
9:07 Game Leaders: Gaustad, 13-4 (faceoffs); Wisniewski, 17:28 (TOI); Nash, 5 (shots)

9:07 The 3rd period is underway in Buffalo
9:08 Buffalo is 5-0-0 when leading after 2 periods ... The Jackets are 0-4-0 when trailing after the 2nd
9:12 Sekera heading to the box for boarding at the 2:49 mark. Very questionable there as Mackenzie was turning away after the dump in.
9:14 Time for some 4-on-4 hockey. Giroux gets called for interference at 4:05.
9:16 The penalty parade continues as Myers goes off for high sticking (5:16).
9:20 Both sides back to even strength, just as Vermette fires an offspeed pitch that almost caught Enroth off guard.
9:21 Very choppy period so far, no thanks to all the penalties and whistles.
9:22 Sabres lead in blocked shots 15-6. Myers tops both teams with 4.
9:26 9:47 left in the 3rd. Sabres being outshot again this period by an 8-3 margin.
9:28 A great defensive play by Pominville is spoiled when his blocked pass deflects to Tyutin who lifts it past Enroth.
If the power play doesn't click tonight it might be a different story. It also might be a different story if the power play had clicked against Tampa (on Tuesday). - Jason Pominville
9:32 GOAL!
9:33 Patrick Kaleta gets his first goal of the year, chipping home a backhand after a nice play by Ehrhoff at the point to keep the puck in (14:08).
9:37 Does anyone really know where Cotton Eyed Joe came from, or where he did he go?
9:39 Tyutin gets his stick up on Myers and heads to the box for high sticking.
9:40 GOAL!
9:41 Pominville buries his second of the night, finishing off some nice grunt work down low by Vanek and Boyes. (17:36, pp).
9:42 The Sabres PP is now 2-for-4 on the night.
9:42 1:55 left in the 3rd.
9:45 Mason heads to the Jackets bench for the extra attacker with 57.8 left on the clock.
9:46 That's all she wrote folks -- Sabres win 4-2 for their first victory at FNC this season.

* Jhonas Enroth made 41 saves and Jason Pominville scored twice as the Sabres defeated Columbus 4-2 for their first win of the season at First Niagara Center. Of more importance to the Sabres was the performance of their power play, which snapped a 1-for-17 run with a pair of goals in the victory.

* The Sabres were outshot 43-26 on the night, with four Columbus skaters collecting five shots each.

* Christian Ehrhoff skated a team-high 25:13 for Buffalo ... Buffalo led in blocked shots 19-7, with Tyler Myers posting a game-high six ... Paul Gaustad topped the Sabres with 16 faceoff wins.

* Antoine Vermette took 38 of Columbus' 82 faceoffs, and finished the night 18-20.

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