The Buffalo Sabres took advantage of a backup goaltender, and did not let up on the gas to take a 6-2 victory on national television over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. This is only the second time in the last nine games that the Buffalo Sabres have come away with a victory against the Penguins.
While the team and its fans can hope for a better tomorrow, today’s outpouring of offense amounts to nothing more than the Buffalo Sabres playing spoiler. While the Penguins remained tied point-wise with the Philadelphia Flyers, the orange and black now have a game in hand on their cross state rivals.
For the Buffalo Sabres, a regulation win at this point is nothing more than a spoiler attempt against the other team. Unless they can maintain a near perfect record, the playoffs are near impossible to achieve this year. The last time the Sabres were able to score 6 goals was their last regulation win, when they shutout the Boston Bruins 6-0 on Wednesday February 8th at the First Niagara Center.
The win this afternoon puts the Buffalo Sabres two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes – with the same number of games played. Ending up the last place team in the Eastern conference is more of reality than making the playoffs at this point – so staying ahead of Carolina is important – unless the organization is looking for a number one center in the draft that might be NHL ready. Having a top five draft choice might give them more trade leverage in bringing in a veteran center.
Pittsburgh had to be hoping this afternoon that the two goal curse would haunt the Buffalo Sabres. After jumping out to two goal leads in their last two, the Sabres wilted under pressure from their opponent, and while they salvaged a point against Montreal – they allowed 7 unanswered to Philly. That would not be the case today, as Buffalo overcame each time the Pens lit the lamp.
The Buffalo Sabres could have added another to the pile of goals they received tonight as they were awarded a penalty shot when the Penguins Kunitz threw his stick at Patrick Kaleta hoping to knock the puck away. Fleury shrugged the attempt off, having faced much more feared snipers than the Sabres fourth line grinder.
The Sabres will have off from game action on Monday, and they will be back in the saddle again for Tuesday against the New York Islanders, as they visit the First Niagara Center. Just seven points back of last place now, the Sabres are on an even keel with the Toronto Maple Leafs in number of games played. The Sabres play the Leafs twice in the remaining games of the season, so playing well and beating the Leafs twice; and you could still catch the eighth place team. If you want to see the Sabres play the Leafs for the second time, click on Win Tickets and register for a free account. Make sure you mention the Sabres as your favorite team, and you could win two tickets to the April 3rd game against the Leafs courtesy of OptionIt.