With seven games to go, the Buffalo Sabres find themselves still in contention for the last playoff spot. By beating the Florida Panthers 2-1 Saturday night, they moved to only 4 points from the 8th place New York Islanders. The Isles, however won their Sunday afternoon contest with the Lightning, thus dropping Buffalo back down to 6 points behind.
Archives for March 21, 2004
'If the Islanders were to play .500 hockey over the last two weeks of the regular season, then the Sabres would need to go 4-2-1 to avoid missing the postseason for the third year in a row, something that has never happened in franchise history.'
'Buffalo's first score came on a power play 6:29 into the first period when Miroslav Satan sent a blistering left-handed slap shot past Roberto Luongo, who was screened by the Sabres' Mike Grier.'
'But it wasn't as though the officials were picking on the Panthers. Buffalo appeared to be trying to keep pace with Florida, as it was whistled 10 times, and the Panthers converted one of eight chances.'
1. Martin Biron, Sabres: Buffalo goalie stopped 23 shots, many from close range, and snuffed out several one-on-one opportunities.
'"Martin was fabulous in the last four of five minutes when we broke down a couple of times," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "He made some big saves for us."'
'Buffalo center Chris Drury, who suffered a concussion last Monday and thus should not have been available to the Sabres until this Monday, was cleared by a team doctor and played.'
'“We got ourselves in trouble with penalties,'' said Biron, who had to defend against eight power plays. “When they started coming hard, the other guys responded. We had a lot of blocked shots in front and a lot of guys hacking in the crease. “Sometimes I threw my pads out there and hoped the puck would hit me.'''
'"We deserved a point in Tampa more than we deserved points tonight," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "We need to win some games, 2-1. That is just the bottom line."'
'Martin Biron has had the stigma in recent games of giving up big goals late in the game. He stayed strong between the pipes on Saturday, putting together one of his better performances of the season. Biron shut down the Panther onslaught in the final period to keep them off of the scoreboard and seal the win for Buffalo. The Sabres netminder finished with 23 saves and stopped eight Florida power play chances.'