NHL – Sabres Playoff Push Almost Complete

06 Apr

                                                       Sabres’ rookie goaltender Jhonas Enroth

The Buffalo Sabres needed to secure a total of 3 points in their final 3 regular season games to secure a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs, regardless of what the other contending teams did, and they put themselves on the brink of clinching that spot with a big   4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. Rookie goaltender Jhonas Enroth, filling in while Ryan Miller recovers from an “upper body injury”, posted another huge win, and Thomas Vanek netted a hat trick to supply Buffalo with some offense. The Sabres jumped out to a 3-1 lead, then gave up a goal in the opening moments of the third period. Fans had to be having flashbacks to the recent meltdown against Nashville (see the last blog post I wrote about the Sabres), but to their credit, the home town boys kept their composure, played a “playoff” style of game for the rest of the period and locked down the win with an empty-net goal by Vanek in the game’s final minute. Best case scenario for Buffalo now would be to wrap up their home season on Friday, in a game being billed as “Fan Appreciation Night”, by beating the struggling Phildelphia Flyers with Enroth in net, then having the luxury of using Saturday’s season finale at Columbus to play Miller and make sure he’s healthy and ready for the postseason. I’m still not convinced that the Sabres have what it takes to face down a tougher team in the playoffs and win a seven game series with their current roster, but coach Lindy Ruff has orchestrated playoff surprises with less-talented rosters in the past, so who knows?

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