'At least the Habs showed signs of life last night against a Sabres team that clearly left its game in Buffalo. The Canadiens ended a five-game losing streak with a six-goal outburst that was marred in the late going when Sabres coach Lindy Ruff sent out the thug batallion to stir things up.'
'Souray, who is playing with an “upper body'' injury — a sore wrist or shoulder — blamed Sabres coach Lindy Ruff for sending out his tough guys in the third period. Andrew Peters tried to start a fight with Souray, but Stephane Quintal stepped in and they squared off. Quintal emerged with a welt on his left cheek. “That's so typical of (Ruff),'' Souray said. “That's the way he's always been as long as I can remember.'''
'"I really wanted to win this game, the last one of the regular season," Montreal coach Claude Julien added. "It was important to beat Buffalo and finish on a winning note. We broke that losing streak and now we have momentum."'
'The Canadiens jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on tallies by Pierre Dagenais in the first half of the opening period. Dagenais, who had been a healthy scratch for five of the last 10 games took a feed from Michael Ryder on the left side and from the slot sent one past Mika Noronen to open the scoring at the 5:12 mark. A similar play four minutes later would lead to Dagenais’ 17th of the campaign. In the slot once again, the 6-foot-5 winger grabbed the puck for his second multi-goal game.'
The Buffalo Sabres took it to the brink. They put enough pressure on the New York Islanders the last two weeks where the Isles actually broke into a little sweat. The Sabres didn’t know what was happening in Carolina. Without the knowledge of how the Isles were doing, the Sabres attended to matters at hand and attempted to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs.
'Buffalo can finish with 87 points, which would be the seventh-highest total among teams not to make the playoffs in NHL history.'
'Yes, there are questions, but now they have far more answers. In that sense, it's progress.'
'"I just think they had more jump than us," Grier said. "It's been a pretty big grind for us. Every game for the last month has been huge. It's been pretty intense and emotional, and I think sometimes that gets to you."'
'To qualify for the post-season, the Sabres had to beat the Maple Leafs and hope that the woebegone Carolina Hurricanes could somehow upset the New York Islanders in a game that started at 7 p.m. in Raleigh. Fat chance. The Islanders had a 6-1 second-period lead by 8:25 p.m. — roughly 20 minutes after the Leafs and Sabres faced off…'.
'The Sabres, who claimed they had no idea what had happened in Carolina until their game was over, went on to lose 2-0 to the Leafs on third-period goals by Chad Kilger and Joe Nieuwendyk. But their fate had already been sealed when the Islanders held off a late Carolina charge and beat the Hurricanes 6-4, eliminating Buffalo from the Eastern Conference playoff race.'
I have a lot of great memories here, so it was nice to get a win like this, he said of his 74th career whitewash. We played great defensively, something we will have to do going into the playoffs.
By defeating the Sabres, the Leafs set a single-season franchise record with 101 points. Yet that total might be good enough for only sixth place in the East, an indication of just how tight the race in the conference is heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
The Leafs, 2-0 winners over the Buffalo Sabres last night are, by my reckoning, close. Start with the superb Brian Leetch, plus-12 in his past 10 games for the Leafs and Bryan McCabe, whose game has risen dramatically with Leetchs arrival at the trade deadline.
Chris Drury is willing to let bygones be bygones. The Buffalo Sabres forward missed two games because of a concussion after being decked by Joe Nieuwendyk of the Maple Leafs during a game March 15 at the HSBC Arena.
'Belfour needed to make only 17 stops last night, though several were game savers as he recorded his ninth shutout of the season, tying his career best.'