Let's see. Doug Gilmour has lost eight of his 11 faceoffs in the game, including one in the defensive zone to Rod Brind'Amour. Who does Lindy Ruff stick out there for a critical shorthanded faceoff against The Bod, among the NHL's best on the draw, with four minutes to go in the third period? Gilmour.
The door to the Buffalo bench swings open, and Stu Barnes steps onto the ice for his 19th shift of the game.
Every once in a while, blossoming power forward Erik Rasmussen puts it all together and shines like the star the Sabres expect him to be.
'It took five-plus periods and three days, but the Buffalo Sabres finally beat Carolina Hurricanes goalie Arturs Irbe.'
'"In today's game, there are a lot of players who are all about the buck. In fact, there's not a lot who aren't," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "Over the years, the bucks pile up. Now it's, ""Boy it would be nice to win.' After you're financially set, the one thing that becomes really prevalent is winning."'
'"We got a bad break, [Wallin] got tripped up and they got one," coach Paul Maurice said. "We were just about a half-second off — moving the puck, finishing checks. That was the end of it; story of the game."'
'It took more than five periods and plenty of patience for the Buffalo Sabres to finally figure out how to beat Carolina goaltender Arturs Irbe.'
'Hasek came within 4:01 of his league-leading 10th shutout and Stu Barnes, Erik Rasmussen and Miroslav Satan scored third-period goals to lead the Sabres to a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.'
'With the victory, the Sabres pull within to four points of fourth-seeded Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and they remain four points ahead of now sixth-place Toronto in the race. Coupled with Colorado's 4-2 win over the Bruins, the Sabres now are just three points away from clinching their fifth consecutive playoff berth…'.
'To the Sabres, tonight's game is a potential two points, not a critical test of skill or a grudge match.'
'In a rather strange set-up, the series is a home-and-home for Buffalo, but not for Carolina, as the Sabres will host Pittsburgh Friday before heading north to the rematch with the Sabres Saturday night.'
'"I've told the team, it has to be an unselfish time of the year right now," Ruff said.'
'…Milbury hasn't shown much haste to bring the former Buffalo Sabres coach in. Bartlett hopes Milbury will consider Nolan over the usual names that are churned out for coaching vacancies. "You can't find the next Scotty Bowman," Bartlett said, "if you keep going back to the same old boy network." The concern for Nolan isn't his ability to coach. It's his detachment from the NHL since he left the Sabres in 1997.'
'Sounds to me like the Sabres aren't only pushing the right buttons with the team on the ice, but also with the fans off the ice.'
'On the Sabres' behalf, the effort was there, and there were many great chances for them in front of the Hurricanes' net, but a few moments of breakdown in their end result in the defeat.'