Least favorite playoff moments….Sorry folks
5. 2007 Eastern conference finals – in its entirety
In the aftermath of the Rangers/Sabres series, it just never felt right to me heading into this series. Ottawa seemed to have a huge ball of momentum that they rode into game 1 with a 5-2 victory. Game 2 was the Sabres chance at saving grace to take back some the series to help alleviate my concerns and Briere’s last minute heroics here made me believe they would. Then Joe ‘Freaking’ Corvo hit the OT winner and it really felt like it was spiraling downhill there. Sabres jumped out in game 4 and took it to the Senators to finally get on the board. A friend of mine was getting married on game 5 and made one of the groomsmen shave his playoff beard and honestly within minutes of taking the last chin hair off Alfredson hit the game winner in OT. Now I’m with Jeremy White of WGR550 that cave man or not when you start the beard you ride it out in its entirety.
4. 2000, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2: Flyers vs. Sabres
No goal 2. Honestly, that’s all it is, but when you watched Hasek and his reaction to the goal it was irresponsible to at least not consider what he was saying. It would not have taken much to fix the problem and because of it the league at least began more and more discussion about the expanded use of replay. Needless to say, it didn’t matter to us at that point.
3. 1998, Eastern Conference Finals, Game 6: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres
This top three is like a series of daggers to my heart. Joe Juneau’s slapper from the blue line was like Bon Jovi’s “Shot through the heart”. I remember sitting in my living room and just feeling empty. That Sabres team was a feel good team that was an upstart and watching Hasek in his prime. It felt like that team was on the upswing and really building something. Although it ended abruptly in ’98 you had reason to be optimistic.
1b. 2006, Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres
I’m going 1a and b because in a way this was as bad if not worse that ‘No goal’ because I definitively felt like the Sabres were the best team. Defensemen getting hurt leading up and Jay McKee’s injury added to the pile. A late 2nd period goal gave the Sabres the lead and Carolina came out early in third to tie the game back up. Then on top of all the injuries was Brian Campbell’s penalty in the first year of the delay of game for shooting it off the ice. At that point there basically was 1 original top six defenseman on the ice. On the ensuing power player a rebound dropped in front of the net and Rory Fitzpatrick decided to stand over the puck and let Rod ‘look at my nose’ Brind’Amour slammed home the eventual game winner.
This game stung because you knew that if they got to the Finals that they would get some players back and be the favorite. And now the everlasting hatred of Carolina remains prominent.
1a. 1999, Stanley Cup Finals, Game 6: Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres
My thought heading into this game was that if the Sabres could get back to Dallas for Game 7 where we would have the greatest goaltender in the world I would love our chances. The game is well known and most of remember, but when the game got to overtime it just felt like the Sabres were going to win. I really felt like they would. Brett Hull put the puck in the net and my friend and I were on the phone (after putting a hole in my wall) screaming that he was in the crease. It seemed surreal that again they didn’t at least check it. They let the celebration take over and Lindy and all of Buffalo tried to get answers. In Buffalo sports history this is way worse than Wide Right and Music City Miracle for me. Wide Right was a miss and Music City Miracle is an enigma that I won’t get into, but this was robbery. Whether the rule was stupid and changed AFTER the season or not the rule was the rule and his foot is blatantly in the crease. So yes, a dozen years after the fact I still feel cheated and still feel like the Sabres were wronged. The Sabres would have still needed to score a goal and still needed to win game 7, but they just weren’t ever given the chance. Wrongly, and it still feels like crap.
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