Sabres lose two-goal lead late, fall to Predators in overtime 4-3

Teams in desperation mode can be the most dangerous ones to deal with. When both sides are equally desperate you can have things go bananas. Buffalo had a 3-1 lead thanks to goals from Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Ennis, and Tim Connolly and appeared ready to hand Nashville and goalie Anders Lindback a tough loss. Little did the Sabres know that March was Blake Geoffrion’s month.

Geoffrion’s tally in the first period up to that point was his only goal. By the time the clock wound down in the third period, he’d have a hat trick and would force overtime. Geoffrion would score with 2:27 remaining and 1:23 left in the third period to tie things up and that’s where Martin Erat would end the game just 27 seconds into the extra period and give the Predators a huge 4-3 win.

For Geoffrion, it’s his first NHL hat trick and helps him join the company of his great-grandfather Howie Morenz and his grandfather Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion as family members with hat tricks in the NHL. It also gives Geoffrion six goals and one assist in his first 11 NHL games. Say, he might have a career in this hockey thing.

Anders Lindback was stellar for Nashville in goal making 35 stops and keeping things under control late allowing Geoffrion to get the game tied. Ryan Miller made just 22 saves in the loss.

Nashville now jumps to sixth in the West and even with the Kings in points with 86. The one point earned by Buffalo gives them a three point lead on Carolina for the eighth spot in the East. If there’s a positive spin out of this for the Sabres, it’s that they at least got a loser point out of the deal to keep Carolina immediately off their heels for a night. That said, losing this way with such a brutal third period collapse stings badly and gives the team a lot to think about for the future.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen