Tag:Sabres
Posted on: April 5, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Playoff Watch: Clinchers all around tonight



WHO CAN CLINCH: The Philadelphia Flyers can clinch the Atlantic Division with a victory over the Ottawa Senators tonight combined with a win by New Jersey Devils, who face the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers can also win the division with an overtime or shootout loss to the Sens coupled with regulation loss by the Penguins. 

The Washington Capitals can clinch the Southeast three different ways:
  • a regulation victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs
  • a point against the Leafs via a shootout/overtime loss and a Tampa Bay Lightning loss to the Buffalo Sabres (in any manner). 
  • a Lightning loss in regulation.


The Montreal Canadiens can secure a playoff berth with any kind of victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

The idle Phoenix Coyotes are in if the Dallas Stars lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets

The Los Angeles Kings, also idle, are also in with a Stars loss, as long as it’s in regulation. 

The Nashville Predators can dance in the land of milk and honey if they beat the Atlanta Thrashers (in regulation, OT or shootout) and the Stars lose in any fashion. The Preds are also in with a shootout/overtime loss and a regulation loss by Dallas. 

ALREADY IN:  Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Washington.     

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Tampa Bay Lightning (44-24-11) at Buffalo Sabres (40-29-10), 7 p.m. ET

The Sabres will again be without goalie Ryan Miller, who will miss his fourth consecutive game with an upper body injury. Of course, with the way rookie Jhonas Enrothm (pictured above) has been playing, he doesn’t exactly have to rush back. Enroth is 2-0-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in Miller’s absence. Enroth has gotten points in his last six starts overall and the Sabres, who enter three points ahead of idle Carolina in the eighth place, would like to see that trend to continue. 

Tampa Bay enters on a five-game win streak. Captain Vincent Lecavalier, who took a high-stick to the eye in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, will play in tonight’s game, according to The St. Petersburg Times. He had been listed as day-to-day since he received stitches and was examined by an eye doctor. 

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Washington Capitals (46-22-11) at Toronto Maple Leafs (37-32-10), 7 p.m. ET
The Caps don’t need a victory to clinch the Southeast for a fourth consecutive season, but the Leafs do need one to stay alive in the playoff picture. Of course, even that may not be enough to keep the Leafs from missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season (see below).

GOLF WATCH:  The Toronto Maple Leafs will be eliminated if they lose (in any form) to the Capitals in regulation or overtime. Toronto is also out if the Sabres manage to get one point tonight. Atlanta, New Jersey, Minnesota Columbus, Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Columbus, Colorado and Edmonton are already mathematically eliminated.  

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 16, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 3:30 pm
 

Playoff Watch: Canucks can clinch berth tongiht



WHO CAN CLINCH: The Vancouver Canucks will become the first team to clinch a playoff berth (via securing the Northwest Division title) by earning at least one point tonight against the Colorado Avalanche.

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Toronto Maple Leafs (30-30-10) at the Carolina Hurricanes (32-28-10), 7 pm ET.

The Maple Leafs could all but call off their bid to return to the postseason for the first time in since before the lockout with a loss tonight. Losers of four of their last five entering tonight’s contest at RBC Center, Toronto would slip to 12th in the Eastern Conference and fall to six points back of eighth-place Buffalo if they don't manage to secure at least a point. 

The Hurricanes are coming off 1-0 victory over the Sabres, Carolina’s first road win in a month, and could pull even with Buffalo (76 points) with a victory. (Buffalo would remain in eighth since it has a game in hand, thus a better winning percentage.) Cam Ward made 44 saves against the Sabres on Tuesday as he made Brandon Sutter’s goal late in the first period hold up.

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Washington Capitals (41-20-10) at Detroit Red Wings (41-20-8), 7:30 pm, Versus.

There are only four games on the schedule tonight, but Versus will broadcast what should be a high-powered contest against two of the best teams in NHL. The Caps enter on a nine-game winning streak and we’ll get to see two Russian buddies, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, go head to head.

GOLF WATCH: Edmonton Oilers have been mathematically eliminated. 

PLAYOFF TRACKER

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 15, 2011 3:38 pm
 

Playoff Watch: 'Canes look to keep pace in East

Carolina Hurricanes (31-28-10) at Buffalo Sabres (34-27-8)

HSBC Arena, 7:30 p.m. ET (Versus) 


SERIES: Carolina (9th in East) 1-1-0; Buffalo (7th in East) 1-0-1
IMPLICATIONS: Carolina can move to within fourth place with a victory combined with a New York Rangers loss. (The Rangers host the New York Islanders tonight.) Buffalo won’t fall out of the top-8 no matter what happens tonight, but would slip to eighth with a loss coupled with a Rangers win. 

BREAKDOWN: The Sabres have netted points in each of their last four home games, but these are a couple crucial points up for grabs since the ‘Canes are one of a handful of teams with a shot for the final two playoff slots in the Eastern Conference. Counting tonight’s contest, the Sabres have 13 games with four of those against teams that enter 8th-10th in the standings (Carolina, 2 games, Rangers and Toronto). 

The Hurricanes, winless in their last four outings, are seeking their first road win since Feb. 13 and Carolina might not be able to count on their power play. Carolina hasn’t scored on their last 21 opportunities on the power play, a span of five games.  The Sabres, meanwhile, have allowed just one goal over their last 16 penalty kill opportunities. 

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Carolina F Jeff Skinner vs. Buffalo F Tyler Ennis. This is another chance to see a couple leading contenders for the Calder Trophy go head to head. Skinner scored his 24th goal of the season over the weekend, but it was only his second tally over the last 10 games as his production has slowed since he was featured attraction at the All-Star game in Raleigh. Skinner, however, still leads all rookies in scoring with 50 points. Ennis enters on a three-game point streak and is coming off a two-goal effort against Ottawa on Sunday.

KEY STAT: 126. The number of goals the Sabres are on pace to score over the second half of the season, which would be a 22-goal improvement over the first 41 games. 
Posted on: March 13, 2011 3:35 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Rick Martin, member of French Connection, dies




Rick Martin, a member of the Buffalo Sabres’ legendary French Connection line, died Sunday after apparently losing consciousness behind the wheel of his car. He was 59. 

"We lost a heck of a guy today," Sabres coach and Martin's former teammate Lindy Ruff said. "It's tough when you lose anybody, and we lost a real good person today. It's a tough one to take."

The Sabres announced Monday that a public memorial service will be held at HSBC Arena on March 24. 

Martin was driving in suburban Buffalo when his 2001 Buick Lacrosse sedan crossed the center line and eventually came to rest against a tree. Two passers-by and later a state trooper performed CPR on Martin as his German shepherd, the only other occupant of the car, stood alongside, New York State Police Capt. Steven Nigrelli said.

On Monday, authorities said an autopsy revealed Martin died of hypertensive heart disease, which is related to high blood pressure and clogged arteries.

News of Martin’s death spread as the Sabres were set to play the Ottawa Senators at HSBC Arena, where just a few weeks ago he joined his linemates French Connection linemates -- Rene Robert and Gilbert Perrault -- as the Sabres’ new owner, Terry Pegula, was introduced.  A video tribute of Martin ran before the game.

"It was great sadness and a heavy heart that we lost a member of the Sabre family today," longtime team broadcaster Rick Jeanneret said, as pictures of Martin were shown. "Rick Martin was a person of joy. You'll be missed `Rico,' but you will be remembered."

Martin was drafted fifth overall by Buffalo in 1971 and scored 41 goals during the 1971-72 season, a rookie record at the time. He spent 10-plus seasons in Buffalo before a severe knee injury against the Washington Capitals in November 1980 cut short his career. He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, but would only play in four games with the club before retiring. 

Martin, a two-time 50-goal scorer, finished with 701 points (384 goals and 317 assists) in 685 career NHL games. He also had 24 goals and 29 assists for 53 points in 63 career playoff games. His 382 goals while with the Sabres ranks as the most by any Buffalo left winger. He also is tops in Sabres history in three-goal game (21), second in game-winning goals (77) and third in points (695). 

"He certainly made a lot of us laugh, didn't he?" said former defenseman Mike Robitaille, who played three years with Martin in Buffalo. "I don't know what we're doing being so emotional when what he stands for is to have fun and laugh. Man, we should have the biggest party in the world for Richard. ... A lot of good memories."

-- A.J. Perez

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Playoff Watch: Chara, Bruins get back to hockey



Buffalo Sabres (32-26-8) at Boston Bruins (38-20-10)

TD Garden, 7 pm ET

SEASON SERIES: Buffalo 3-1-1; Boston 2-2-1

IMPLICATIONS: The Sabres could move up a spot to seventh, displacing the idle New York Rangers. (Both would have 74 points, but Buffalo gets the edge with two games in hand after tonight.) The Bruins could advance to second place in the East with a victory. (Boston and idle Washington would each have 86 points, but the Bruins would have a game in hand.) Here's a look at our plaoff tracker.

BREAKDOWN: Despite all the outcry, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will indeed be in the lineup tonight. He told CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty that he was “relieved” that he would not sit for his check Tuesday night that seriously injured Montreal’s Max Pacioretty

"I’m satisfied and happy about it. Relieved,” Chara said. “They looked at it and made a decision, and I respect that.”

While Pacioretty’s injury understandably took the spotlight off the scoreboard, the Bruins 4-1 loss was a rare hiccup of late. Still, the Bruins enter 7-1-1 in their last nine games.

Buffalo is 3-1-1 through the first six games of its seven-game, 12-day trip. The Sabres will get winger Thomas Vanek back in the lineup tonight after he missed Tuesday’s game with flu-like symptoms. 

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller vs. Boston goalie Tim Thomas. These two former teammates from the Team USA’s silver-medal run at last year’s Winter Olympics are both on their game. Thomas, who may have been injured in practice and sat out Tuesday’s game in Montreal, is 14-4-4 in his last 22 games and hasn’t been beaten in regulation over this last four starts. Miller made 28 saves in a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, his first start since getting a rare night off last weekend. 

KEY STAT: 6. Among the Sabres' final 16 games, that's how many teams are currenlty in the playoff picture. 

Photo: Getty Images
 
 
 
 
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