'Atlanta seemed to be missing in action over the first twenty minutes and found themselves facing a 2-0 deficit. The team woke up for the final two periods and had several good chances to get back into the game, but could not get anything past Hasek.'
Dominik Hasek may still trail Ed Belfour on the all-time list by a single stinking shutout, but The Dominator gives a million dollars to charity, while The Eagle offers a million billion dollars to a cop.
His recent run of three shutouts in his last five starts should be sending warning signals throughout the Eastern Conference — Dominik Hasek is back in the "zone."
'All season the Sabres have competed against the best like they belonged on the block, only to get whacked over the head with a broken bottle whenever they ventured onto skid row. But the Sabres have cleaned themselves up the past few weeks and have started treating some teams like the bums they are.'
'Dumont, who ranks fourth on the team with 23 goals and 50 points, served his first game of the year as a healthy scratch. He had missed just two games prior to Friday night: Dumont sat out wins against Atlanta and the New Jersey Devils in mid-February with a rib injury.'
'When a team is offensively challenged and the opposing goaltender is considered the best in this or any part of the world, the margin for error is small. It follows that the Thrashers took only 79 seconds to remove any suspense Friday night.'
'Miroslav Satan scored just 1:19 into the game and Dominik Hasek blanked the Thrashers for the second time in five nights.'
'Miroslav Satan, with his fourth goal in four games, and Chris Gratton scored seven minutes apart in the first period as the Sabres matched a season-high by winning their fifth straight home game. James Patrick and Maxim Afinogenov sealed the victory, scoring a minute apart in the third period.'
'Buffalo matched its franchise shutout mark with its 13th of the season. In the record-setting 1997-98 season, Hasek was in goal for each, registering the highest individual total since Tony Esposito had 15 for Chicago in 1969-70. Hasek has not allowed a goal against Atlanta in the last 168 minutes, two seconds. The Sabres also posted a 4-0 victory in Atlanta on Monday.'
'With the win, the Sabres move to within one point of fourth-place Flyers, and move three points ahead of sixth-place Pittsburgh, who both are in action Saturday afternoon.'
Unfortunately for the second-year Thrashers, the NHL season isn't 40 games long. After a rousing first half that saw them at .500 before their loss to Washington on New Year's Day, Atlanta has spiraled downward with a 7-26-6-1 mark. Their dream of playoff contention has since evaporated.
If the Sabres do anything less than blow the Thrashers' defense out of the arena, then they deserve to be knocked out of the first round of the playoffs.
'The Sabres have tightened up their defense to playoff standards, leaving Hasek with little to do on some nights. The lack of activity has led to victories, and the Sabres will be playing for their 15th in 21 games when they face the Atlanta Thrashers tonight at 7 in HSBC Arena.'
'Buffalo has played well enough this season to put itself in a far more comfortable position for the homestretch. Buffalo is in fifth place, three points behind Philadelphia and one point ahead of Pittsburgh. The Sabres have a game in hand on both teams.'
'Dominik Hasek proved once more this week he's no ordinary goalie.'