Originally posted on Buffalo Wins  |  Last updated 11/9/11
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The newly relocated Winnipeg Jets' first visit to the First Niagara Center may as well have been sponsored by the number four.  In a game they never led until the final score indicated otherwise, the Sabres scored four power play goals and erased four Winnipeg leads to help Ryan Miller snap his personal four-game losing streak, defeating the Jets 6-5 in overtime.

Winnipeg opened the scoring 4:48 into the game after a fairly awful Andrej Sekera neutral zone turnover and a similarly bad Derek Roy backcheck left Mark Flood wide open in the slot to beat Miller. Just over a minute later, Bryan Little got open in almost the exact same area Flood scored from and converted a nifty Blake Wheeler pass from behind the net.  Just like that the Sabres were down 2-0, and it began to feel eerily like Miller's last start against Philadelphia - the team in front of him was terrible, and Miller was not about to bail them out.

Unlike the Philly game, though, it didn't take a goalie switch to wake the team up.  Instead, Alexander Burmistrov took care of that.  His charging penalty gave the Sabres a powerplay that, although it didn't result in a goal, was successful in allowing the Sabres to build momentum. After another Winnipeg penalty and a brief 5-on-3 the Sabres got on the board with a power play marker from Derek Roy, who was in perfect position to tap home a rebound off the end boards.  Just eleven seconds later, Corey Tropp scored his first NHL goal after the Jets defense was gracious enough to allow him about 20 or 30 whacks at the puck from just outside the paint to tie the score.  Because that clearly wasn't enough scoring for one period, the teams traded one more pair of goals - Tanner Glass for the Jets, and Jason Pominville for the Sabres after a ridiculous Paul Gaustad spinning behind-the-back pass that I had assumed would only work in video game hockey - and the first period ended in a 3-3 tie.

The zaniness settled down slightly in the second period, as Winnipeg took its third lead of the night on another Bryan Little goal only to be erased by a Thomas Vanek power play goal, a slapper from the blue line that eluded Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec.  But just 48 seconds into the third period the Sabres committed possibly their worst blunder of the night, leaving only two men on the ice after what appeared to be a terrible line change. Dustin Byfuglien screamed down the slot like there was a buffet table in the crease and scored yet another goal that Miller was helpless on. Once again the remarkably resilient Sabres drew even, and once again it was on the powerplay: Pominville threaded the needle with a cross-ice pass to Roy, who scored his second of the night to tie it at 5.  Finally, with 25 seconds left in overtime and yet another Jet in the box, Vanek ended a crazy night of hockey with his second power play goal of the evening, getting his shin in front of a Pominville shot.

There, I think I've covered all the goals.  Forgive me if I missed a few, though.

You may have noticed I used the words "power play" quite a lot in the preceding paragraphs - well, that's because the Jets handed the Sabres twelve power plays.  Yes, twelve.  Yes, in the same game.  Buffalo was fairly generous as well, needing to kill off five shorthanded situations of its own.  Meanwhile, both teams seemed to be engaged in a contest to see who could play worse in front of its own goaltender.  In other words, this certainly was not the game for you if you like well-executed, disciplined hockey - if you like chaos, though, this wildly entertaining tilt was right up your alley.

The Sabres play next at home against Ottawa on Friday night.

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