Sabres, Leafs go to 15-round shootout, make preseason kind of fun - VIDEO
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • September 21, 2013 @ 10:12pm
Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to scoff at preseason NHL hockey.
Commonly viewed as a cheap ticket to see a bunch of future AHLers skate around the First Niagara Center, Buffalo Sabres preseason action reached its peak Saturday night in Toronto’s 3-2 win over Buffalo.
Then again, would you expect anything less from a rivalry game, even a meaningless September affair?
The Leafs’ Jay McClement assisted on the game-tying goal late in the third period before mercifully ending a 15-round shootout—yes, they have overtimes and shootouts in the preseason—by solving Jhonas Enroth. Toronto’s James Reimer went a remarkable 15-for-15 in saving shootout attempts, while Enroth prevented Toronto’s first 14 shooters from sneaking a shot past him.
It was both agonizing and hysterical, bizarre and entertaining.
Toronto’s Paul Ranger even tried this:
Only because preseason statistics don’t count in the record books, the memorable Sept. 21 Leafs vs. Sabres preseason tilt won’t match the Guinness World Record for longest NHL shootout—which was another 15-round affair between the Rangers and the Capitals in November 2005. Marek Malik snapped a shot past Olaf Kolzig to win it for New York almost a decade ago.
Here’s the list of Buffalo’s missed shooters in order:
Looking back at the 2012-13 regular season stats for Buffalo, the team’s two shootout leaders were absent from the game, as Jason Pominville (four shootout goals) was jettisoned to Minnesota late in the regular season while Thomas Vanek (three shootout goals) had the night off.
Most likely, this game will quickly fade into obscurity—the Sabres have much bigger fish to fry in handling Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller—but for one night, it proved that the sellout crowd of 19,070 could witness a finish that hockey fans may not see for another decade.
Here are a few notable tweets from the shootout portion:
Sabres and leafs announce cuts. First 29 shooters in tonight's shootout looking for work.— Ron Vanden Dungen (@rvdungen) September 22, 2013
(Header photo courtesy of the Buffalo Sabres Facebook page).