Game Three Conference Quarterfinals

Tonight the Sabres and Bruins face off in game three of the Conference Quarterfinals. 

Keys to the Game:

Contain Chara.  The Sabres need to contain the giant Bruins defensemen.  With injuries depleting the Bruins defense and offensive prowess, there are not as many weapons to defend against.  Taking Chara out of the game will help the Sabres onto victory. 

Support Miller.  The defense has to allow him visibility.  If Miller sees the shot, hes going to save it, most of the time.  Miller proved he can be a clutch goaltender during the Olympic tournament, but at the same time he had a silver medal winning (should have been gold medal winning) defense in front of him.  If the Sabres blue line can play near the same level that team USA did in the February tournament, Miller’s numbers will improve greatly. 

Overcome the Vanek injury.  Once Vanek was out for game two, it seemed the Sabres interest in winning the game went to the locker room with the forward.  Juggled lines were not communicating the way they should have been.  With Lindy’s system, he should be able to juggle the lines seamlessly with the same results.  That did not show through for game two, and needs to be improved until Vanek returns. 

A split in Boston gives the Sabres home ice advantage back, winning two games puts them in better shape.  Saturday’s loss was the first time in 32 contests this season that the Sabres lost when leading after two games.  They can’t let that rattle them, players that realize 31-1-0 when leading after two periods is still a hell of a statistic. 

“It’s tough. But no one said you’re going to walk through the playoffs,” goalie Ryan Miller said. “The good part is they don’t tell you what order you have to win. You just have to win four.”

Any fans that might get a little worried about the Sabres chances at locking this series up can just look to calm cool and collective Ryan Miller.  While losing is never a good thing, its only one game – and while a regular season loss is 1/82 – a post season loss is 1/7.  Tightening things up for the rest of this series wouldn’t be a bad idea.  A first round defeat would further show that this roster needs more to it than Sabres management loving the players they have on their team. 

If you want to continue to look at stat numbers to see how the Sabres will continue to fair this series, they have scored first in both games one and two, and have a combined record of 32-7-4 when achieving that feat. 

The Bruins have not beaten the Sabres in a best of seven series since the 1992 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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Tags: Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Conference Quarterfinals Ice Hockey Ryan Miller Stanley Cup

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