Kukla's Korner Hockey
by @DaveDavisHockey on 01/02/11 at 03:51 PM ET
It was a memorable hat trick on a late night that likely caused panic among writers trying to meet deadline. Could there have been a more fitting evening to honor Alexander Mogilny and Jim Kelley?
Following the pregame ceremony inducting the former Sabres sniper and the late legendary hockey writer into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame, Drew Stafford had a night that was typical of so many by Mogilny during his heyday.
And as if the tying goal with 27 seconds left in regulation to get him the hat trick wasn’t enough, he set the tone for the shootout with a 15-foot wrister that beat Tim Thomas, and the Sabres won a 7-6 thriller over the Boston Bruins.
The irony of the evening wasn’t lost on Sabres beat writer Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News in his game night blog as regulation was winding down:
Here come the hats on Mogilny’s Hall of Fame night. Somehow appropriate. And it’s 6-6. And our man Kelley is laughing from above at his buddies in the press box sweating out deadline now.
There was an inkling following training camp that Stafford was poised for a comeback season, and we’re seeing it in full swing now. He’s second on the team with 13 goals and is only 1 behind leader Thomas Vanek despite playing 15 fewer games. His hot streak comes at a much needed time with Derek Roy out of action for likely the season.
Next for Buffalo is another trip out west against three tough teams that are all in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race - Colorado, San Jose and Phoenix. If it’s any consolation, there won’t be any games on consecutive nights, and for that matter Buffalo doesn’t play back-to-back games again until January 20-21.
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