Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

PreGame Skate: Pittsburgh Penguins

Any hope of making the playoffs vanishes each time the teams loses.  Despite picking up the loser point by taking the Montreal Canadiens to overtime and a shootout Friday night, it was the fourth straight game in which they were unable to put 2 points in the win column.  Looking at the Eastern Conference standings while preparing for today’s game, the Sabres are better destined to win the post-season draft lottery than a post season playoff berth at this point.

Despite today’s game being televised nationally on NBC (formally Versus) in the daytime spot the game will be only available to the regional markets, and carries little dramatic weight to it.  While the opponents, the Pittsburgh Penguins are a middle of the pack team crawling towards the top of the standings – the Buffalo Sabres are destined for an early summer.  Nine points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs now for the final playoff spot, the climb up the hill has gotten nothing more than steeper and slicker with each loss.

The lack of heart that this team shows at certain time is an embarrassment giving the amount of faith the fans put in the blue and gold.  Watching Miller’s reaction in the shootout Friday night were nothing but laughable.  In position to make the saves, it seemed as though his extracurricular behavior allowed the puck to cross the goal line.

The third of four meetings this season between these teams, the games are split in vastly different fashion.  The Sabres were able to hold on to a 1 goal lead in early October, but were blown out in December, allowing the Pens to score eight.  As fragile as the Sabres are at this moment, I would lean toward December 17th recurring over October 15th.  While the Sabres look to stay out of the final spot in the Eastern Conference, Pittsburgh is going to have the gas on trying to overtake fourth place from the Philadelphia Flyers.  While the Rangers have a good hold on first place in the conference, the tied Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers are only eight points back, but the Rangers have two games in hand.

While the Tailgate Tent is usually reserved for the older than 21 crowd, Sunday’s game will have the tent hosing a Kids tailgate party.  Children under the age of 12 are welcomed into the tent for face painting, shooting practice, bubble hockey, Sabres trivia with prizes, and an appearance will be made by SabreTooth.  Food and beverage will be available for purchase in the tent.

Today’s game in part of the continued coverage of Hockey Weekend Across America.  The season could be all but over at the time, or there still could be a drift of hope for the playoffs, either way don’t miss out on your chance to see the Buffalo Sabres live, for free, courtesy of the people at OptionIt.  Click here to see how you can be the guest of and OptionIt at the April 3rd Sabres vs. Leafs game.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Montreal Canadiens Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Toronto Maple Leafs

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