Weight's back up over call

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

BUFFALO -- "When guys used to do that 15 years ago," said Carolina Hurricanes forward Doug Weight, "the captain of the team would say, 'Wake up!' "

All Buffalo Sabres captain Daniel Briere said was, "Thank you."

Whatever view was taken of the controversial overtime penalty that led to Briere's goal last night, the fact remains the Sabres won 2-1, and now, the Eastern Conference final will be decided in a seventh game tomorrow night.

The pivotal play came 2:28 into overtime with the Hurricanes buzzing -- as they had been since the beginning of the extra period. Weight, forechecking fiercely, cranked Jason Pominville into the boards and got a boarding penalty for his troubles.

Weight's complaint was that Pominville had intentionally turned his back to the developing check.

Pominville denied it. "I never saw him" he said. "You're not supposed to hit a guy when he has his back turned. I never really saw him, so I couldn't have turned my back."

That's not even close to the way Weight saw it.

"I take responsibility," he said, "but it was a bad penalty. It's crap. He has done it three or four times in the series. It has only been called a couple of times, but I guess he was successful at the right time. And then you see guys on the bench giving him pats on the back for that. I'll be out to make amends (tomorrow)."

As far as Weight was concerned, he made a clean check.

"I was keeping my arms down," he said. "I wasn't going to charge him. He spots me and he turns. It's disappointing."

As far as Briere was concerned, it was a good call -- and an opportunity to be grasped -- which he did.

The Hurricanes tried valiantly to kill the penalty and had almost done so when Briere wired a shot from the point that Ward could only deflect with his glove.

"It went off my glove and my shoulder and kind of popped up in the air," Ward said. "I didn't have any idea where it went.

"I looked to my left and (Maxim) Afinogenov was looking back at it, so I knew where it was then, but it was a little too late to get to it."

As for the penalty, Ward said, "You can't moan about it. It's not going to change a thing, We've just got to keep our heads up and get ready for next game."

Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette was nowhere near as stoic.

"I wholeheartedly disagreed with the original call," he said, "and I wholeheartedly disagreed with the two missed calls."

And those would be?

"A hook on Bret Hedican and the tripping on Justin Williams that led to the goal."

At that point, Laviolette issued a curt, "Thank you," and left the room.

UNFORTUNATE

It's unfortunate that the debate over the call deflected attention from what had been a fine hockey game.

The Sabres came out with a rush and until Jay McKee took a penalty at 9:30, they rarely let the Hurricanes touch the puck.

During that stretch of dominance, they took a 1-0 lead when J.P. Dumont pounced on the rebound of a Briere shot and fired it past Ward.

After that, Carolina's offence came back to life. But Buffalo's offence didn't disappear. The result was a game with lots of scoring chances, but excellent goaltending at both ends.

For a long time, it appeared that the Sabres might make that early goal stand up. But with less than four minutes remaining, Hedican fired a shot from the spot that beat Ryan Miller into the upper corner.

After the game, both teams said they had felt confident going into overtime. But in only one case was it well founded.

And both of them also said they feel confident going into Game 7. One of them will be wrong there, too.


Videos

Photos