The Buffalo Sabres came out like gang busters and finished like gang victims. After taking a commanding 2-0 lead over the Washington Capitals in the most important game of the year for both teams, the Sabres allowed the Caps to chip away at the lead until it was tied.
'"I thought we came out and played a hell of a third period," Ruff said. "We dominated their big line, we had a lot of control in the offensive zone, and I think we missed the net on a lot of big chances. I think it was the best all-around game we've played in a long time."'
'The Sabres are still in deep trouble, and they will have a difficult time bouncing back from this loss.'
'The question going into the season was could Biron, 24, stand up to the pressure of a late-season push for a playoff spot. He's given people reason to doubt him as his struggles Tuesday night typify the frustration of the Sabres' season.'
'What the Sabres need most is for Biron to stop letting in soft goals.'
'While Montreal was blowing a one-goal lead, the Capitals were rallying from 2-0 down to take a 3-2 lead, then winning in memorable fashion, leaving Buffalo and the New York Rangers three points behind them in this four-team frenzy.'
'"It was big, especially with the people who are down with injuries. We lost Frantisek Kucera (nerve damage in the neck) early in the second period so some young guys on defense and some of the other guys really had to step up and get the job done."'
'Barnes, the Sabres' captain, was injured March 17 and got back on skates Monday for the first time. He was back on skates yesterday but doesn't have medical clearance and might sit another week, even if he thinks he is fully recovered.'
'It was a dreadful night for the Sabres, who squandered a 2-0 lead, and for Biron, screened by his own defenseman on Simon's decisive goal.'
'"It was a save (Biron) has got to make," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's tough. He had a couple of tough breaks tonight, but the last one is a save he has got to make."'
'Noronen has been more effective lately, but Biron might give the Sabres the better chance for victory tonight. What should Ruff do?'
'The Sabres have scored one power-play goal in their last 21 opportunities.'
'"But one thing you can be assured of is that I won't be a cancer in the locker room. I don't do those kind of things."'
'Campbell, who was playing in his 25th game for the Sabres this season, has been winning rave reviews since being recalled on March 2 because of an injury to Richard Smehlik.'
'There aren't enough antacid tablets to get over a week like this.'