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Winners & Losers: Sabres catch the Capitals

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer


There's always a Winner and a Loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Winners

Buffalo Sabres: When the Anaheim Ducks were the hottest team in the NHL for nearly two months, there was a pretty strong belief they could pull off a miracle second half comeback and qualify for the postseason. In the end, they're going to come up short, but the Buffalo Sabres on the other hand look like they may very well complete a pretty unbelievable -- and improbable -- turnaround.

They at least have a chance at this point.

Following Wednesday's 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens, the Sabres are now tied for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the Washington Capitals, a team they will meet in one week.

Buffalo is now 10-2-3 in its past 15 games after sitting in 14th place in the Conference back on February 19, just before the start of this run, with a 25-27-3 record.

[Related: Sabres 3, Canadiens 0]

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New York Rangers: It required overtime against a shorthanded Red Wings team, but the Rangers were able to gain an important two points and take a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Ryan Callahan scored the game-winning goal at the 2:27 mark of the overtime period while Henrik Lundqvist shook off an early goal that he would probably like to have back and stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced.

[Related: Rangers 2, Red Wings 1]

Chicago Blackhawks: With their 2-1 overtime win against Vancouver, the Blackhawks were able to catch Nashville to move into a tie for the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference, and are suddenly just one point back of the Red Wings for potential home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

Chicago has won five in a row and is now 8-1-1 in its past 10 games.

The only downside of the night for the Blackhawks: Defenseman Duncan Keith might be facing some discipline for elbowing Daniel Sedin late in the first period, a play that resulted in a two-minute minor penalty.

[Related: Blackhawks 2, Canucks 1 -- Keith elbows Sedin]

Losers

Detroit Red Wings: Playing without Nicklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard and Darren Helm, the Red Wings came out on the losing end for the seventh time in their past eight games, including their sixth in a row.

Of course, this one came in overtime, so they still earned a point which pushed them ahead of Nashville for the time being for the No. 4 spot, but they're still struggling in a big way right now.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers had an opportunity to deliver what might have been a knockout blow to the Washington Capitals in the divisional race on Wednesday night, as a win in Carolina would have allowed them to open up a seven-point lead in the standings with less than 10 games to play. But they were unable to get the win, losing to the Hurricanes 3-1.

[Related: Hurricanes 3, Panthers 1]

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