Niagara Gazette

Sports

April 20, 2013

Sabres' playoff hopes end with 8-4 loss

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Following Rick Nash's goal to put the Rangers ahead 6-0, Buffalo actually came alive and even teased the fans with the thought of a miracle comeback. At the 13:50 mark of the second, while on a power play, Cody Hodgson tipped Christian Ehrhoff's shot from the point into the net and put the Sabres on the scoreboard. Just six seconds later, Nathan Gerbe stole an errant Ranger pass in their own zone and lifted the puck over Ranger netminder Henrik Lundqvist's catching glove.

The Rangers stopped Buffalo's momentum somewhat when Ryan Callahan broke in on Enroth and beat him at the 14:28 mark of the period to life New York ahead, 7-2.

"Our last couple of games, we said it's the playoffs for us and we have to win to make it in," said Callahan after the game. "We know it's in our control and it's tough building to play in so we wanted to come out hard and make sure we got that first goal and we did."

Buffalo mustered another goal late in the second period as Stafford got the puck off the face-off and lifted a backhand shot over Lundqvist.

Buffalo couldn't inch any closer, even with two power play opportunities in the third period. Then at the 12:32 mark, Richards' wrist shot redirected off the tip of Enroth's glove and went into the net, completing the Ranger forward's hat trick.

Mark Pystyk scored on a Buffalo power ply with just under 40 seconds remaining, but his first career NHL goal only momentarily got Sabres fans smiling again.

In the dressing room, following the game, players could only look back on the game that ended their playoff hopes and reflect on a season full of disappointments.

"It hasn't been easy," said forward Thomas Vanek. "But we worked hard and traded a couple of players away. We've stuck with it and lost some games we should have won. Collectively, we weren't good enough."

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