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OT Victory at Home

Buffalo sporting their black & red sweaters dispatched Minnesota in their first contest of a four-game homestand.

Mr. Olofsson scores the lone goal of the opening period to give Buffalo the 1-0 lead as Mr. Dahlin in his 313th game earned his 200th point with his 30th assist.

Mr. Olofsson scores his 13th of the season

The second period six-goal outburst on 29 SOG combined efforts had power plays, 5 on 3, lead changes, and a period-ending goal as the period began with Mr. Thompson’s 31st goal of the season.

Mr. Thompson’s 31st goal with Mr. Dahlin’s 31st assist
Mr. Dahlin and the boys take the lead

92 seconds later Mr. Dahlin scores his 11th of the season and a 3-2 Buffalo lead soon after Mr. Dahlin’s helmet is “knocked” off and Buffalo awarded a power play Mr. Cozens scores his 13th and the Sabres are up 4-2.

Mr. Cozens on the power play
Happy Fans

After Minnesota scored the last goal of the second period former Sabres player Mr. Foligno potted his 4th of the season 26 seconds into the third period tying the game for the Wild at four apiece.

Just over seven minutes later Minnesota scores on the power play for the 5-4 lead but Buffalo sticks to their game and outshot the Wild for the third period as Mr. Dahlin scores with 2:24 remaining sending the contest into OT.

Mr. Dahlin records his 12th of the year

In the overtime session, Mr. Mittlestadt was a beast as he took the puck before the center red line skated it into the Minnesota zone, turned back along the dasher board, then passes to a zone-rushing Mr. Dahlin.

Even Minnesota fans in their cool-looking sweaters could not stop Mr. Olofsson from scoring his 14th goal of the season

Mr. Dahlin’s shot is deflected back towards the top of the faceoff circle where Mr. Mittlestadt picked up the puck instantly passing to a wide-open Mr. Olofsson who snipes it top right corner for his second of the night and the win.

Victory Kiss

This was UPL’s sixth victory in a row and the Sabres have back-to-back home games hosting Philadelphia on Monday and Seattle on Tuesday night.

Fantasy Hockey Update

ESPN FHL Buffalo Pro H2H Points League 2022 – 2023

Each NHL season Buffalo Winter participates with one team in a random league run by ESPN, and put all my attention and efforts into my lone entry, win or lose I put in the time each day, and wear my heart on my sleeve for my team.

Buffalo Winter Roster

Using my team as an example to highlight ESPN FHL tools available, statistical information, and player movement I put my pucks where my mouth is, everything I write about is first-hand experience nothing vicarious.

Having observed fantasy Hockey “experts” on social media sites advising you to drop this player or pick this player up because he is currently trending positively or negatively statistically yet they will not show you how they run their team and/or league to back up what they are proposing.

Both ESPN and the NHL have websites with a plethora of fantasy articles and whimsical prognostications and Top 100 this or Top 50 that, nice information but not practical for a team manager in an ESPN FHL.

Goaltenders can make or break your weekly matchup

Statistically, Buffalo Winter is leading in most offensive scoring statistics, the most Goals, Assists, Power Play Points, Short Handed Points, and Shots on Goal adding up to the league lead in Points For then ironically losing four weekly matchups, highlighting timing as to when your players earn points.

Leading in most categories

Utilizing the “watch list” and “waiver wire” Buffalo Winter has made more moves than the other nine team managers combined, is this good or bad would depend on the player’s positive production provided and if assisted in winning the weekly matchup.

Year-end and new-year transactions

Currently, Buffalo Winter is in fourth place overall, second in the West Division, and a positive position in the playoff seeding race which allows for four out of the League’s 10 teams competing to participate in the playoffs.

There is no wrong way or right way to “play” fantasy Hockey there is you and the enjoyment you take from the time and effort you put into your team and league.

Sabres Slay Grizzled Bruins

“Happy Royal Blue New Year”

This a great quote from Mr. Dunleavy after one of the more exciting come-from-behind wins versus the number one team in the NHL in an afternoon game to kick off the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In the first period, Mr. Luukkonen played a huge role early, and with good stick work from the entire team, Mr. Thompson was able to score to tie the game at one assisted by Mr. Skinner who currently has earned a 10-game 17 points streak.

Three defenders and one goalie cannot stop Mr. Thompson

The second period was filled with blood in the first eight minutes as a deflected puck struck a fan in the head requiring bandages, (I did not see any netting), and Mr. Krebs participated in his first NHL fight resulting in his head bleeding onto the ice.

Before the carnage began in the second period Mr. Tuch scored his 16th goal of the year at the 17:57 mark allowing the Sabres to start the third period up 2-1.

Mr. Tuch scores his 16th of the season

In the third period, Boston literally shoots half of their game’s SOG (19) and went up 3-2 with 7:35 remaining 52 seconds later Buffalo is whistled for a four-minute penalty then four seconds later another two-minute penalty to be down 5 on 3 for two minutes.

Buffalo’s penalty killers along with Mr. Luukkonen making a game-saving pad save on Mr. Pasta himself killed off the penalties, Buffalo proceeds to pull the goalie, and with 1:45 remaining in the game, Mr. Dahlin makes a block/save on Mr. Pastrnak’s shot at the empty net.

UPL stops Pasta

Then  Mr. Dahlin shoots the puck all the way to the opposite end boards where the puck rebounded off the dashboard to near the center of the left faceoff circle to Mr. Tuch who deftly touch passes it to Mr.Cozens whose shot beats the goalie for the 3-3 tie with 97 seconds remaining.

Mr. Cozens to Mr. Tuch

In overtime, Mr. Cozens stripped the puck from Mr. Burgeron, skated from the Buffalo zone deep into Boston territory while double teamed dropped the puck back to Mr. Tuch in the slot who patiently avoided two defenders before snapping a greasy wrister with 67 seconds remaining for the win.

Mr. Tuch wins it in OT

Buffalo is now riding a six-game winning streak and looks to make it seven tonight on the road in Canada’s capital versus the Ottawa Senators.

Captain Okposo Leading The Way

Scoring and Smiling

Last night’s 6-3 victory over the visiting Red Wings highlights how far the Sabres young corps of players have come in learning, earning experience, and developing into a solid winning team.

Mr. Krebs provides powerful forechecking

It appeared that most of the 19,070 seats were filled with Hockey fans in a game that meant a little bit more after the blizzard we endured at times tragically here along the Lake this past week.

Mr. Skinner scores his 17th of the year

One NHL slogan today is, “no lead is safe”, as witnessed by Detroit’s four-goal deficit comeback versus Pittsburgh the night before fueling hope for the Red Wings as Detroit snapped three quick goals in less than five minutes in the first half of the third period.

As HC Granato and some players pointed out in post-game interviews they are getting better at holding leads and on a night when Mr. Thompson, Mr. Tuch, and Mr. Dahlin are held off the score sheet there was production across the board.

Mr. Mittlestadt notched his second goal of the night

Detroit owned the third period with three goals and 17 SOG but came up far short as they were penalized a couple of minutes after their third score and that seemed to cool things off but they pulled the goalie with 4:55 remaining.

Mr. Luukkonen held on to the puck at the 4:11 mark and after the face off Buffalo iced the puck at 3:55 Commentator Mr. Ray remarked it was good icing and that the team just needs to be patient.

Jubilation

Sure enough, 18 seconds later Captain Okposo completes his hat trick with a happy net goal, and it’s hats off for the Captain, a five-game winning streak, second highest scoring team, and the second-best power play in the NHL.

ESPN NHL Fantasy Hockey Update

Wk 12 weekly matchups

Standings

The League leader and sitting atop the highly competitive East Division with the other four teams that legitimately still have a shot at the final playoff seeding have themselves what appears to be a fight to the finish.

After week 11 of our 21-week FHL season, the West Division appears set with two top playoff-bound teams and three teams that have a combined win total that matches the win total of the second-place team in the West Division.

Season Stats

Ironically the League’s fourth-place team is the League leader in (G) goals, only team over 200, (A) assists only team over 300, (PPP) power-play points, two dozen more than the nearest rival, (SHP) short-handed points the only team in double digits, and most (SOG) shots on goal.

The League leader leads handily in (HIT) hits and (BLK) blocks but has only scored six more points overall than the fourth-place team, yet it is the strength of 10 wins and a single loss that makes the League leader the team to beat for the Championship.

Goaltending

One position in fantasy Hockey that can win the week or cost severe negative points has to be played judiciously, and putting in goaltenders has to be well thought out, what win-loss record did the goaltender earn against certain teams, or is the goalie facing the Cup Champions?

Using the League leader’s goaltending statistics we note the leader’s goaltenders have the most (SV) saves but the most (GA) goals against and just one win more than the second-place team overall.

How does the goaltender point system work positively and negatively?

Firstly we will add the positive points earned to date for the League leader, 31 (W) wins = 124 points, 1,672 (SV) saves = 33.44 points, 3 (SO) shutouts = 9 points, 8 (OTL) overtime losses = 8 points totaling 174.44 positive goaltending points earned.

Secondly the League leader’s 158 (GA) goals against negative points total come to 316 and when we minus the 174.44 positive points the League leader lost 141.56 points during weekly matchups over the past 11 weeks.

Armed with this information why would any team manager insert a goaltender into the lineup knowing that on average they will lose points and even cost them the weekly matchup?

The fourth-place overall team has the fewest points against in the goaltending statistics, the goaltender used for the lone shutout came after noticing the goaltender’s team was scheduled to play the 32nd-place team in the NHL and earned big-time points for the eventual victorious weekly matchup.

NHL Players

No matter how experienced and successful of a fantasy Hockey team manager you are, ultimately your success depends on the professional Hockey player’s performance, your best scorer could have an “off-game” your goaltender could play like a sieve or your least productive point producer earns a hat trick.  

Fantasy Hockey

In conclusion, to become a successful FHL team manager you have to put in time and effort, even 10 minutes a day could ensure you a playoff seeding, but I know that life is more important than a Hockey league that does not exist except digitally.

But you joined an ESPN FHL team for some reason and hopefully, you are enjoying the NHL season with your fantasy team as much as Buffalo Winter.

Perfect Road Trip

Sabres completed a three-game road trip beginning with the defending Cup Champions, the tough Coyotes, and finishing last night by beating the Knights.

The Sabres visiting sin city last night scored a team hat trick by scoring three uninterrupted goals in the second period to take a 3-0 lead on seven shots while at the other end of the ice Mr. Luukkonen stopped all 10 shots he faced.

Mr. Skinner scoring from the suburbs

Mr. Skinner began the festivities less than two minutes into the second period with a wicked wrister over the netminder’s blocker then the Knight’s goaltender struck with Tage Fright watches as Mr. Thompson scores his 50th point and 26th goal of the season.  

Tage Thompson Totals 26 G 24 A

Clanging a shot off the inside corner to score his first of the season Mr. Pilut gives Buffalo the three-goal lead as the assists went to Mr. Krebs who won the offensive faceoff to Captain Okposo who passed it back to the point.

Mr. Pilut is psyched to score his first goal of the season.

Mr. Luukkonen played extremely well facing 43 shots with nearly two dozen shots coming in the third period and one Penalty Shot as Buffalo’s netminder stopped 41 SOG from the Knights contributing to the Sabres first road victory in Nevada.

Mr. Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen stopping Penalty Shot attempt

Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen is playing so well that after making the save on the Penalty Shot with approximately seven minutes remaining and preserving the two-goal lead he confidently slapped the puck at the dasherboards.

The Sabres riding a four-game winning streak and scoring the most goals in the NHL to date are playing one home game in the middle of the upcoming Holiday week with the Lightning this Friday night.

Sabres Spectacular Shutout

Sporting their black and red bison head logo sweaters last night the Buffalo Sabres scored six goals in one period for the second time in one week as the Sabres shutout the Kings at home 6-0 in another impressive offensive output.

Mr. Cozens notched three assists

Buffalo did not score six goals in the first period and coast to victory instead they played a tight defensive game while killing off the first two penalties whistled in the game into the second period and then seemingly scored at will in the third period.

Mr. Anderson earns his 43rd career shutout

Mr. Anderson earns his first shutout since March of 2019 which was against the Sabres, as the Kings fired 40 shots to Buffalo’s 31, both teams were 50% on faceoffs and Los Angeles earned 22 blocks for the game highlighting the wide SOG disparity during the game.

Mr. Thompson scored twice with an assist

Los Angeles tagged with two penalties at the end of the second and beginning of the third period provided a 5 on 3 that Buffalo scored immediately on to get the onslaught started and after four consecutive Buffalo power plays the Sabres earned their third penalty of the game.

Mr. Tuch scores his 15th

This was a sit at the edge of your seat game even after Buffalo scored the first goal less than two minutes into the third period on the power play and after being heavily outshot in the first two periods this game was nowhere near being won.

JJ Peterka

Halfway through the third period Buffalo goes up 3-0 aided by Mr Olofsson and JJ Peterka’s even strength goals tallied 13 seconds apart and three minutes later the Kings take one penalty right after another that Buffalo capitalized on to forge a 5-0 lead.

With less than ninety seconds remaining Mr. Asplund carries the puck into the zone and passes to Mr. Olofsson who one-handed puck handles across the front of the net and as he goes past backhands a pass to Mr. Krebs at the top of the blue ice for goal number six.

Mr. Krebs playing hard in front of the net

Buffalo begins a three-game road trip versus the defending Cup Champions Thursday night then to Arizona to take on the Coyotes in their “home rink” Saturday night culminating with a visit to sin city hopefully Jackie Vegas who is on IR will be healthy enough to play.

Monday ESPN FHL Update

Moments before Senators OT winning goal

Surprisingly a weekly matchup of the two division leaders in the eighth week of the season happens between the East’s Downton Flyers League leader in (PF) points for overall battles with the West’s Doughty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Team Doughty) leading their Division by a 700% winning percentage.

In the highly competitive East Division Team Fitzgerald in a four-way tie for the division’s second place and/or the fourth playoff seeding battles an underrated second-place team that leads this FHL in (G) goals, (A) assists, and (SOG) shots on goal, from the West, team Buffalo Winter.

Happy Minnesota Fans

Each FHL team manager is competing in an inter-divisional matchup this week and all four teams tied for second place in the East Division are challenged by the League’s three furthermost teams in the overall standings from the West which could solidify the third and fourth playoff seeding.

Mr. Quinn endeavoring to earn a point in his fifth consecutive game

Currently, there are six teams in direct competition for the League’s four playoff slots with all five of the East Division teams having a legitimate claim to the playoffs in comparison to one from the West’s division leader.

Plenty of active FHL players in six NHL contests

Impressive Victory

Happy Buffalo Fans in Montreal

This is exactly what the Sabres needed to end a winless stretch in what was the second-highest offensive output of the season for Buffalo, striking quickly and often along with a solid physical effort and pushback made for one entertaining game.

Mr Dahlin begins the festivities

Highly praised Tyson Jost arrives in Buffalo and during the first shift of his first game becomes involved in a tone-setting fight that Sabres commentator Mr Ray remarked was good to see and that it makes a huge impression on his teammates.

Newest Sabres player Mr Tyson Jost

Head Coach Granato highlighted that fear and hesitation were what was holding us back and the addition of Mr Jost with the return of Mr Girgensons and Mr Samuelsson was apparently the tonic required to dissipate that issue.

Mr Tuch scores his 10th of the season

Racking up 38 SOG and killing six penalties while scoring seven times, maintaining good sticks on the defense, dogging the puck, and sticking up for each other is the style of play we saw in the first ten games of the season.

Mr Cozens 67% on faceoffs

Tonight the Sabres host the St. Louis Blues in the first game of a three-game Thanksgiving Home Stand which includes the visiting Devils and their outstanding game and ends with the Lightning striking as Tampa Bay visits here along the Lake.

The Most Colorful Men in Hockey

When the Buffalo Sabres began in 1970 my family had one black and white television set in our home and I did not have any say on what we watched, so I had to listen to most all Hockey games on my transistor radio.

To this day I still listen to most NHL team’s radio broadcasts and for the most part color analyst are entertaining, here along the Lake we have one of Buffalo’s admired, respected, and well-liked former players in Mr. Rob Ray who since 2012 has done color commentary for Buffalo.

125 regular season games 796 PIM

An Ontario native from Stirling Mr. Ray was a monster when he came to play for the Rochester Americans earning well over 400 PIM while on average scoring a point every second or third game his first season.

Drafted seven spots after Buffalo selected Mr. Mogilny in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft Mr. Ray was called up from the Amerks in 1989 and scored his first NHL goal on the first shift of his first game for the Sabres.

available on Amazon

Authored a book titled “Rayzor’s Edge” on the life of a small-town Canadian boy dreaming and working towards playing in the NHL and finally reaching his goal with descriptions of his life before and during the NHL, interesting and insightful for Sabres and Hockey fans alike.

Mr. Ray was a player that caused the NHL to institute a new rule and altered the way NHL players wear their sweaters or suffer earning a game misconduct prompting fans to refer to this as the “Rob Ray Rule” professionally referred to as “Rule 56. Fisticuffs” from the NHL rule book.

Mr. Ray explained how players would cut pieces of their equipment so that it would rip away in a fight, spray silicone on their arms or sew Velcro into their equipment so nothing would fall off during the preamble to fisticuffs causing the other belligerent to get penalized.

“He said he wanted to see some ID smart guy”

His reputation prompted ESPN to call upon Mr. Ray to do a television commercial about Sportscenter’s security, he was the security officer that pummeled a deliveryman with no identification and pauses to say “Hey Coach” as Mr. Melrose walks by, very funny and can be viewed on Youtube.

HC Melrose, Mr. Ray, the victim

The first Buffalo Sabres to earn the 1999 King Clancy Memorial Trophy for the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and had made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community Mr. Ray was and still is most deserving.

Mr. Ray’s acceptance speech in 1999 had a joke about how at these NHL awards shows he usually just helps Dominik carry all his trophies and makes sure he gets home alright.

Humble Humanitarian

Contributions to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Make A Wish program, and President of the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association Mr. Ray’s compassion and generosity have touched so many lives positively and his humble remarks that the kid’s smiles and the thanks from the families are his trophies.

A well-rounded and talented individual Mr. Ray offers informative and at times hilarious insights while commentating on the games that have made listening to the Sabres almost as much fun as when we watched Mr. Ray play.