Panthers Sabres HockeyBoth the Buffalo Sabres and the Florida Panthers entered the HSBC Arena last night ice cold and desperately in need of two points to stay in the tightly contested Eastern Conference playoff race. To start the third period, the Sabres found themselves down 3-1, but managed 3 goals in a 2:07 span, rallying to defeat Florida by a final score of 5-3. “We had to be desperate. This is that time of year,” said Buffalo Sabre, Jason Pominville. 

After being booed by their fans throughout the first two periods, the Sabres desperate play was eerily reminiscent to the comeback Buffalo made against the Tampa Bay Lightning just over a year ago. Check out these freaky comparisons:

  • On March 19, 2008 at the HSBC Arena, the Sabres were down 4-1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. With 15 minutes to play in the third period, Buffalo rallied to defeat Tampa 7-4. On March 25, 2009 at the HSBC Arena, the Sabres were down 3-1 against the Florida Panthers. With just under 14 minutes to play in the third period, Buffalo rallied to defeat Florida 5-3.
  • These victories are just over 1 year apart. 
  • Both rallies came within 1 minute of each other in game time.
  • In both games, the Sabres needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
  • Jason Pominville set up both comebacks, scoring twice in the Tampa game, and once with two assists in the Florida game.
  • Both contests were at the HSBC Arena and against teams from the state of Florida.
  • In both games the fans booed the Sabres off the ice.
  • In the third period Buffalo out shot Tampa 16-4, and Florida 21-9.
  • The win against Tampa put Buffalo in 9th place with 81 points. With the win against Florida, Buffalo remains in 10th place with 78 points.
  • At the time in 2008, the Toronto Maple Loafs were 5 points behind the Sabres. Currently, the Loafs are only 3 points behind Buffalo.

Weird, eh?

Game Summary

Before the game, Panthers right winger, Radek Dvorak was quoted as saying, “I have a good feeling that good things are going to happen.”

Oops.

Trade deadline acquisition, goalie Mikael Tellqvist, made his first home start for the Sabres stopping 30 shots in the win. Opposing goaltender, Tomas Vokoun made 40 saves for the Panthers. On only their third shot of the game, Florida went up 1-0 by an ugly goal from Brett McLean. In his 799th career game, Sabres Captain, Craig Rivet scored on the power play Panthers Sabres Hockeywith 15 seconds remaining in the opening frame for his 2nd of the season. Richard Zednik (the guy who had his throat slit open at HSBC Arena a little over a year ago) scored the go ahead goal for Florida with just over five minutes to play in the second. Michael Frolik scored on a trickling puck to put the Panthers up 3-1 early in the third period. Then came the 2 minute onslaught by the Sabres. The comeback began as Jason Pominville responded to Frolik’s goal, scoring his 16th of the year and putting Buffalo within one. Clarke MacArthur tied it up on a slap shot and then Tim Connolly scored the game winner on the power play, making the score 4-3. The goals were MacArthur’s and Connolly’s 14th of the season. Maxim Afinogenov scored the empty netter (his 5th), making the final 5-3 Buffalo. Max’s goal triggered a bum rush from Nathan Horton and company, going after Max in a childish fit of frustration.

Fast Facts

-The Sabres had only 1 power play goal in their previous 6 games, going 1 for 26. Last night they were 2 for 5. The Panthers were 0 for 2.

-Florida didn’t get their first shot on goal until 7 minutes into the game. The Sabres had already tallied 4. 

-Before last night, the Panthers were 21-9-4 when they scored first. The Sabres have won 3 straight and 5 of the last 6 against them.

-History dictates that the City of Buffalo hasn’t been kind to the Panthers or Richard Zednik. Florida is 7-19-2 with 3 ties at HSBC all time (including this game). Despite scoring a goal, Zednik shed blood onto Buffalo’s home ice for the second year in a row (both times from friendly fire). In this instance, however, the injury was far less severe, as teammate Cory Stillman’s shot struck Zednik in the right side of his face shield. He was cut across the nose and quickly made his way to the locker room. Zednik returned to the bench a few minutes later though, 84-sabres_game_sports_panthers_at_sabres_004standaloneprod_affiliate501seemingly in good health. The injury creepily took place right near the spot where his throat was cut open just over a year ago.

 

-Drew Stafford is in the midst of a really bad slump, scoring only 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 14 games.

-Although Afinogenov scored the empty netter and put out some tough shifts alongside Danielle Paille and Dominic Moore, the forward seemed to revert to his old ways (of turning the puck over) a handful of times last night. At one point, Max was out for a lengthy 2:04 shift. Upon returning to the bench, head coach Lindy Ruff chewed him out for the move.

-Buffalo color guy, Harry Neale had the quote of the season when he said that Buffalo was trapped in their own end “like pregnant foxes in a forest fire.” I’m not sure if that’s hilarious, ridiculous, or terrible… probably all of the above.

The Final Word

With the win, the Sabres improve to 35-30-8 on the year, but continue to be locked in 10th place. Here is how the Eastern Conference is looking:

  1. Boston Bruins (102 points/73 games played/clinched the NE Division)
  2. New Jersey Devils (97/73/clinched playoff birth)
  3. Washington Capitals (97/75/clinched playoff birth)
  4. Philadelphia Flyers (90/72)
  5. Carolina Panthers (89/76)
  6. Pittsburgh Penguins (88/75)
  7. New York Rangers (86/74)
  8. Montreal Canadiens (83/73)
  • In the Hunt: Florida Panthers (81/74), Buffalo Sabres (78/73), Toronto Maple Loafs (75/74), Ottawa Senators (74/73)

Panthers Sabres HockeyIt’s easy to see that the final five spots are still up for grabs. Any team can begin to slump while another goes on a playoff propelling win streak. Hopefully, the latter is the route the Sabres can take as they are expecting starting goaltender Ryan Miller to return for Friday’s match-up against the Maple Loafs at home. Miller has stated that his ankle is, “as good as it’s going to get.” Buffalo has gone 4-7-2 without him between the pipes, and with only 9 games remaining in the season, they can’t afford another losing streak. After Toronto, Buffalo takes on the Montreal Canadiens and the Atlanta Thrashers on the road.

One year ago, the Sabres mounted an electrifying comeback against the Tampa Bay Lightning to keep their playoff hopes alive. After that victory, however, the Sabres dropped 2 straight, and went 4-3-1 to close out the season. They missed the playoffs by 4 points, finishing in 10th place.

Hopefully, history won’t be repeating itself.


Sabres Senators HockeyHang your heads low Sabres fans. Really low.

The Buffalo Sabres were once again defeated by a team ranked well below them in the standings, and this time it was the Ottawa Senators. Buffalo lost to their division rivals at Scotiabank Place Tuesday night by a score of 4-2. The Sabres amassed a mere 13 shots on goal the entire game. That’s not a joke; 13 shots on goal through 60 minutes of play were all the Buffalo Sabres could accomplish offensively. This mark nearly ties the franchise record of 11 shots on goal, set in 1981 against the Boston Bruins. With the loss, Buffalo falls to 34-28-8 and further decreases their playoff chances. 

Game Summary

Mikael Tellqvist started his first game in net as a Buffalo Sabre, and it was anything but a memorable occasion for the third string goaltender. Tellqvist stood tall, facing 36 shots in the game, compared to Brian Elliot who was only hit with 13. Two of those shots went in for the Sabres, and both goals came in the first period. Defenceman Toni Lydman scored his 2nd of the year on a delayed penalty call to put the Sabres up 1-0. Jason Pominville added another tally (his 15th), shoveling in a return pass from Thomas Vanek, giving the Sabres a 2-0 lead at the end of the opening period. 

Once the second period began, however, it was like watching a completely different game as it was all Ottawa. The Senators got on the board about a minute and a half in when Dany Heatley picked Tellqvist’s pocket, as poor coverage by Jaroslav Spacek left him untouched in front of the net. A little over 4 minutes later, Brendan Bell tied the game while Henrik Tallinder was serving an interference penalty. Early in the third period, Drew Stafford was in the box for elbowing when Daniel Alfredsson scored the go ahead goal. He received a pass from Jason Spezza in a 2 on 1 situation, and a poor read by Buffalo defenceman Andrej Sekera made Alfredsson’s job easy as he caught Tellqvist out of position (at no fault of his own), putting his team up 3-2. As if to punctuate Ottawa’s dominance of the Sabres this season, with 8:34 left to play, Brendan Bell got his second of the night with the man advantage, making the final score 4-2.

Game Analysis

There so many atrocities to point out in this game from the viewpoint of a Sabres fan, that it’s tough to only pick a few. Actually, only a few will be pointed out as hopefully this game can quickly become a distant memory. To begin, the Sabres amassed 9 penalties in the game for a total of 18 short handed minutes. Three of those penalties Sabres Senators Hockeywent to Henrik Tallinder for two hooking calls and an interference call. At one point, the Sabres had 7 straight penalties before they’d get a power play chance of their own. Some people blame biased refs, when they should really blame lazy hockey players.

Despite the poor play and sloppy penalties, the biggest frustration of the night is how the Sabres didn’t fight for their new goalie, Mikael Tellqvist. Imagine how he feels, being the new guy on the team, wanting to make a statement and help the club advance in the standings. Tellqvist makes 32 saves, keeping his team in the game while his fellows managed to only put 13 shots on the the opponent’s goalie. The Sabres should have just spat in Tellqvist’s face as it would’ve been equally insulting to their teammate as their performance last night. The effort put forth in this game proves the theory that the Sabres don’t show up when Ryan Miller isn’t in net. Save a few plays here and there,other backup goalie, Patrick Lalime, has been solid in his nine outings in place of Ryan Miller. All he has to show for it though, is a 3-4-2 record. Without speaking any words, the Sabres have repeatedly shown if anyone besides Ryan Miller isn’t stopping pucks, than they don’t feel like playing hockey.

The rest of the world be damned.

To frustrate Sabres fans even further, Ottawa is 5-1 against Buffalo on the year and has owned the Sabres since being knocked out of the 2005-2006 post season by Buffalo. Add this to the fact that Ottawa is ranked 24th in the league, and it becomes clear that the Sabres can’t win close games against good teams, and can’t win period against bad teams. Buffalo’s chances for a post season birth aren’t over numerically, but after watching this club play last night, the realization that no lead is safe forces fans to accept the fact that this team isn’t very good.

Fast Facts

-Buffalo failed to score on 4 power play opportunities compared to Ottawa’s 3 scores on 9 chances.

-The Sabres had 1 shot on goal in the entire second period. The Senators had 13.

-In their last 7 losses, the Sabres have totaled 13 goals. 

-The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, losing to the Senators (twice), Atlanta Thrashers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, and the Anaheim Ducks. Only two of those teams are higher than Buffalo in the standings. The three victories were against the Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers, and the Montreal Canadiens, of which only the Coyotes are below them in the standings.

Sabres Senators Hockey-Since the start of the 2005-2006 season, Ottawa is 20-6-4 against Buffalo. Ouch.

-The Sabres started the season 6-0-1, but since then they’ve gone 28-28-7.

-Jason Pominville is a -6 in his last 8 games.

The Final Word

It may be too early to panic about missing the post season as the Sabres are only 3 points out of 8th place, but they keep making it harder on themselves and for their fans to keep the faith. Here is how the Eastern Conference looks:

  1. Boston Bruins (99 points)
  2. New Jersey Devils (95)
  3. Washington Capitals (94)
  4. Philadelphia Flyers (84)
  5. Pittsburgh Penguins (84)
  6. New York Rangers (82)
  7. Montreal Canadiens (81)
  8. Carolina Hurricanes (79)
  • In the hunt: Florida Panthers (78), Buffalo Sabres (76), Toronto Maple Leafs (71)

Something this team needs to do within the span of their final 12 games is to develop an identity, hold onto leads, and find consistency in their play. All of these elements are lacking right now, and it has turned them into a group of losers. After the game against the Senators, Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said:

I’m very embarrassed. Embarrassed for our fans, embarrassed for how we played the last forty minutes. It’s not acceptable this time of year.

Lindy, 13 shots on goal and 9 dumb penalties are not acceptable any time of the year. On Friday the Sabres take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the HSBC Arena. Anything other than a win in this game and Buffalo’s playoff hopes become nothing more than a hope and a prayer.

Sabres Flyers HockeyFor a team who is fighting for their post season lives, the Buffalo Sabres looked completely uninterested in a playoff spot, losing to the surging Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center. The game was tied at 1 going into the 3rd period and it looked as if Buffalo would at least gain a point on the night. However, the Sabres lost their edge, allowing 3 goals in 6 minutes and falling to 33-27-7 on the year. 

Game Summary 

The Sabres got off to a good start, scoring less than 2 minutes in as Maxim Afinogenov netted his 3rd goal of the year while parked in front of goaltender and ex-Sabre Martin Biron. Biron has been solid against his former team, going 3-0 against the Sabres this year. With just 13.6 seconds left to go in the opening period, the notoriously ugly Scott Hartnell would tie things up on the power play getting the puck past Buffalo net minder, Patrick Lalime. This was Lalime’s 7th straight start in place of the injured Ryan Miller who is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain. The second period would remain scoreless, as both teams alternated between skating and figure skating. Then came a monumental 3rd period collapse by the Sabres. A mere 27 seconds in, the Flyers took the lead as Jeff Carter, standing all alone up front, got one over the pads of Lalime to go up 2-1. An unchallenged Mike Richards would make the score 3-1 when he deflected a sniper shot past Lalime. Minutes later, Carter would score his second of the night to put the Flyers up 4-1, prompting a Buffalo goal change. Replacing Lalime in net was the new trade deadline acquisition, Mikael Tellqvist. Tellqvist looked decent in his first appearance in a Sabre sweater, only letting in a fluke goal that shouldn’t have counted. Hartnell bumped the puck in off of his chest for his second of the night, putting the Flyers up 5-1 with five minutes remaining. It was odd that the goal counted considering a similar goal was disallowed by Sabre Jason Pominville in a previous game this season. The goal wouldn’t matter though, as the Sabres only other tally came with 1:22 left to play. Jochen Hecht scored the meaningless goal to give the Sabres a pair on the night.

Game Analysis

To be blunt, this game sucked for Buffalo. Once again the Sabres were soft in their own end, sticking it to their goalie by allowing Flyers to crowd around the net. While this game counts as a loss for Lalime, it is yet another example of him fulfilling his duty as a backup goalie, while the rest of his team took the night off. Lalime has Sabres Flyers Hockeyshown that he can weather the storm in place of Miller, provided the other Sabres give him support up front and on the scoreboard. Low scoring drawn out mental contests are not Lalime’s forte, and it goes to show how losing Ryan Miller was such a serious blow to this team. The problem with the Sabres is that they aren’t aggressive enough throughout 60 minutes. This has been said of them for the past two seasons, as they are a team who chases sticks rather than bodies. More aggressive play in their own end could have prevented a number of goals in this game, and the confidence meltdown by Lalime.

Props to new Sabre Dominic Moore, who seemed to be the only Buffalo player who was physical and actually skating with some purpose. Moore took some silly penalties, but he did come from the Maple Loafs so that has to be expected. The only 3rd period highlight for Buffalo was by Patrick Kaleta who beat the crap out of Arron Asham with 3 minutes left to play. The fight was one for the highlight reel as both players exchanged savage blows.

I feel the need to mention that the Versus coverage of this game was horrendous. Who gives a crap if Scott Hartnell hasn’t cut his hair in a year and a half. Seriously? This is a relevant point to make when the clubs are tied at 1 in the thick of a game with playoff inclinations? Lame.

Fast Facts

-Biron made 27 saves while Lalime made 25 and Tellqvist 3.

-The Flyers have outscored the Sabres 9-1 this year in the 3rd period.

-Against the Sabres this season, Biron has a 3.19 GAA and one shutout. His career record against his former team is 4-2-1. This stat confuses me : shouldn’t the Sabres know all of Biron’s tricks and ‘isms’? Shouldn’t they be able to lace this guy with goals? After all, he was drafted by Buffalo in 1995 and didn’t leave the club until 2007. It’s just another frustrating example of the Sabres inability to make things happen.

-The Sabres have 15 power play goals in their last 11 games. The club is 5th in the league in power play conversions, scoring 22.5% of the time with the man advantage. That’s great and all, but Buffalo was 0-3 on the power play in this contest.

-Before this game, the Sabres penalty kill had allowed only 2 goals in the last 32 chances. They allowed back to back power play goals against the Flyers.

-Jason Pominville leads the Sabres in shots on goal with 190, but he has only 14 goals on the year. 

Sabres Flyers HockeyThe Final Word

Before this game, Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff stated “That the pressure has definitely come up. We’re playing .500 hockey… and this time of year we have to play better than .500 hockey.” No kidding coach. 

Buffalo has 15 games remaining this season (9 of which are against teams with higher seedings), so it’s tough to not feel like a broken record when every game has a ‘MUST WIN’ label attached to it. However, the Sabres have cornered themselves in the standings, and if they want to play hockey in May, every game from here on out is a must win. On a night where the Sabres failed to pick up a point, their rivals in the playoff picture all gained ground on Buffalo: The Montreal Canadiens won and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Florida Panthers in a shootout, giving each team at least a point. Here is how the standings look in the Eastern Conference:

  1. Boston Bruins (95 points)
  2. New Jersey Devils (89)
  3. Washington Capitals (88)
  4. Philadelphia Flyers (82)
  5. Montreal Canadiens (79)
  6. Pittsburgh Penguins (78)
  7. Florida Panthers (77)
  8. Carolina hurricanes (77)

       In the hunt: New York Rangers (76), Buffalo Sabres (73), Toronto Maple Loafs (67)

It’s tough to see teams like the Penguins and Hurricanes pass the Sabres in the standings as Buffalo was, at one time, in control of their own destiny. Tomorrow night the Sabres square off against the Panthers in a crucial game that may lay waste to post season hopes in Buffalo.


newsabresThe 2009 NHL trading deadline has come and gone and the Buffalo Sabres have made some moves. The most significant of which was keeping glass man, Tim Connolly in Buffalo. Connolly signed a two year contract extension worth $9 million with the club, while Ales Kotalik was shown the door. The right winger has been traded to the Edmonton Oilers, and his replacement comes from the Toronto Maple Leafs in centre Dominic Moore. The Sabres also signed goalie Mikael Tellqvist from the Phoenix Coyotes. While Buffalo didn’t make any dramatic moves by the deadline, they did come out a slightly better club at the end of the night as they went on to defeat division rival, the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-1. The victory improved Buffalo’s record to 32-25-7, moving them up into 9th place and one spot out of the playoffs.

Let’s take a closer look at the events of the day:

3447786819Goalie Mikael Tellqvist comes to Buffalo: The Sabres sent a 4th round pick to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Swedish goaltender, Mikael Tellqvist. Tellqvist, the former backup in Phoenix, has started 13 games this season, going 7-5-1. He has a 2.86 GAA and a .907% save percentage for a total of 38 goals scored against him on the year. Compare these stats to current Sabres backup goalie, Patrick Lalime who has started 14 games this year, going 3-9-2. His GAA is 2.78 with a .909% save percentage and 42 goals let in. In Lalime’s defense, his team looks like a totally different club with starting goalie Ryan Miller in-between the pipes. In front of Lalime the Sabres have been sluggish with a horrendous offensive output, averaging a mere 2.4 goals per game. 7 of those goals came on his first start of the year when Buffalo beat the New York Islanders 7-1, and another 5 goals came last night with the victory against the Habs. Take those 12 goals away on the bookend games, and the Sabres average a despicable 1.75 goals in 12 games with Lalime as a starter. It’s tough to blame those losses on the backup. That being said, since Miller went down with a high ankle sprain on February 21st, Patrick has carried the team, allowing only 7 goals in his 4 straight starts, stopping an average of 32 shots a game. Lalime became a liability when he came down with the flu and head coach Lindy Ruff was almost forced to bench him in favor of AHL goalie, Jhonas Enroth. Enroth’s game has slipped as of late, with the goalie playing .500 hockey. Wanting more experience in net in-case Lalime goes down and Miller stays injured, Ruff went with Tellqvist who with 7 years in the league has amassed a career record of 43-40-8, with 2 ties and 6 shutouts. The last player Buffalo acquired from Phoenix was Daniel Briere, which turned out to be the trade of the decade for the Sabres. Lalime has faced 461 shots this year, compared to Tellqvist’s 408.

connolly-3-21-08-bigTim Connolly signs 2 year $9 million deal: In his last three seasons with Buffalo Tim Connolly has missed 149 games, playing in only 79 contests. Assuming Connolly misses more time, this signing may turn out to be a waste of money for the Sabres. No Sabre is more injury prone than Connolly, as he’s never been the same after suffering a concussion in the 2005-2006 playoffs against the Ottawa Senators. If Connolly goes down again, this deal could be considered a missed opportunity for the Sabres to trade him for a more reliable player down the stretch. His stock is currently the highest it’s been since the 2005-2006 season, and now that he’s staying put, Sabres fans hope Connolly’s value continues to climb. Tim’s new contract is a 50% pay increase from his previous deal, and as long as he stays healthy, he is worth the money. Says Connolly of the signing, “Glad that I was able to stay in Buffalo, great hockey town, great place to play, great group of guys. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season, and doing what we can do to make the playoffs.” The Syracuse native has 11 goals and 16 assists (27 points) in 30 games played this year. He has a +1 rating with 2 power play goals, 1 short handed goal, and 3 game winning goals. Connolly was traded to Buffalo (along with Taylor Pyatt) from the New York Islanders in 2001 for local favorite Michael Peca. 

Sabres trade for Dominic Moore and let go of Ales Kotalik: The Sabres picked up centre Dominic Moore from division rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a second round pick. Hours later the Sabres recovered ground in the draft as Ales Kotalik was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers also for a second round draft pick. At first glance, it appears that the Sabres over payed for Moore, a 28 year old journeyman, but upon closer inspection it turns out that he was essentially traded for Kotalik. Moore, who is two years younger than Kotalik, kotalik0has found most of his success this season parked in front of the net, scoring 12 goals on the year and 29 assists (41 points). Moore also has a -1 rating, with 4 power play goals, 1 short handed goal, and 1 game winning goal. Ales Kotalik has spent his entire career in Buffalo, and has been one of teams better players as of late scoring 13 goals and 19 assists (32 points) this season. He has a -7 rating with 8 power play goals and 1 game winning goal. Kotalik also holds the NHL record in career game winning shoot-out goals with 10. Moore, an Ontario native, does fill a hole with the Sabres as he’s a big guy who plays hard and can score. The question is though, will he stick around past this season? He becomes a free agent at the end of the year and may go the way of former Sabre rent-a-players Dainius Zubrus and Steve Bernier. While Sabre fans will miss Kotalik’s hard slap shot and reliability in shootouts, his lazy skating, weak checking, and unnecessary penalties won’t be missed. Kotalik’s dealing came as somewhat of a surprise as Jochen Hecht and Maxim Afinogenov seemed to be more valuable trade bait.

The Final Word: By the end of he day, the Sabres did make improvements to the team, but the next two months will prove whether they were enough to propel the club into the post season. Buffalo looked like the team they hope to be Wednesday night at HSBC Arena, as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-1. Buffalo got a Thrashers Maple Leafs Hockeypair of goals from Derek Roy (24 on the year) and Paul Gaustad (9). Roy scored first in the game on the power play, and again in the second period. Gaustad’s goals both came in the third, one on the power play and the other on a breakaway while the Sabres were short handed. Jaroslav Spacek (7) scored the other Sabre goal halfway through the second period. A la Ryan Miller, Patrick Lalime had his shutout attempt spoiled by Tomas Plekanec with 1:06 left to play in the game. With the win, the Sabres move to one point out of 8th place, the final playoff spot. While the Pittsburgh Penguins occupy that coveted spot in the rankings, the Sabres have a game in hand on them, so a win would put them back in playoff contention. Here’s how the Eastern Conference standings look:

  1. Boston Bruins (93 points)
  2. New Jersey Devils (87)
  3. Washington Capitals (85)
  4. Philadelphia Flyers (78)
  5. Montreal Canadiens (75)
  6. Florida Panthers (74)
  7. New York Rangers (72)
  8. Pittsburgh Penguins (72)

In the hunt: Buffalo Sabres (71), Carolina Hurricanes (71), Toronto Maple Leafs (63)

Happily, the Sabres hold the tie breaker over the Rangers, and have a game in hand on the Hurricanes. If forced into a tie with Carolina, however, the Sabres lose the edge as the Hurricanes have the tie breaker. With Thomas Vanek back in the line up, Tim Connolly signed semi-long term, and the additions of Tellqvist and Moore, the Sabres have a shot at making a playoff run. Ryan Miller is the teams sole injury and is out indefinitely. His return would be ideal, but as long as Lalime keeps up his strong play and Tellqvist serves his duty as a backup to the backup, it’s the offense that will dictate where this team is headed. Players like Jason Pominville, Jochen Hecht, Henrik Tallinder, and Maxim Afenogneov have been cold all season and need to step it for their team. Thomas Vanek also needs to be the player he was before he fractured his jaw. Most importantly, the Buffalo Sabres need to put together a win streak and obtain some consistency, something they’ve been lacking since losing Daniel Briere and Chris Drury two seasons ago…

Lets go Buffalo!