Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

April 2, 2012

Win in home finale against Toronto critical to Sabres' playoff hopes

BUFFALO — In less than 24 hours, the Sabres morphed from a postseason frontrunner to a likely bystander. Consecutive regulations losses can do that. An incredible nine-week run up the Eastern Conference possibly fell apart with one bad weekend.

Nonetheless, the ninth-place Sabres haven’t been eliminated yet. They still possess hope.

Three games remain, starting with tonight’s huge home finale against the hapless Maple Leafs, who downed them 4-3 on Saturday in Toronto.

The Sabres must win all three, right?

“I’d be stupid to think any other way,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Monday following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres, who trail Washington by two points (88-86) with a game in hand, have little margin for error. It’ll be an arduous task securing their third straight playoff appearance.

While the Sabres can technically tie Washington tonight, the Capitals have the tiebreaker. Four more points and they clinch. They blew a glorious chance for at least one Monday, allowing the go-ahead goal with 1:02 left in a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Sabres owned eighth place and controlled their fate until the Pittsburgh Penguins beat them 5-3 on Friday.

“We kind of let it slip,” Sabres defenseman Mike Weber said. “Now we’re kind of hoping on other teams to mess up. We’ve got to take care of our business. It’s a big week of hockey.”

Goalie Ryan Miller said the Sabres’ awful start this season “looms over us.”

“The room for error was small. We made the error,” he said. “We got to make up for that and give us the best chance to get in the postseason here. That’s win (tonight) and go from there.”

It won’t get any easier. The Sabres finish with road tilts against the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins, two conference heavyweights.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro Sports
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page