BUFFALO, N.Y. -- If playing a good game wasn't enough to keep them from the brink of elimination, the Buffalo Sabres are hoping that at least talking one might do the trick.
|Lindy Ruff and Buffalo believe the pressure is now on Carolina. (AP)|
"You'd hate to lose Game 6 and play Game 7," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "You never want to get in that situation because anything can happen.
"For us, we have nothing to lose. We are really building off our performance and going to go after it by taking the same approach we did last night."
Which isn't a bad idea considering the Sabres rebounded admirably from a dismal effort in the fourth game when they were shut out by Hurricanes goalie Martin Gerber. Buffalo started fast and never let up, outplaying the Hurricanes in their own building for much of the night, even chasing Gerber early in the second period after building up a two-goal lead.
"I think we got a feel for Gerber," Ruff said.
Problem is, the Hurricanes were able to call on rookie Cam Ward, who has been stellar throughout the playoffs and became the difference in Game 5. Ward helped turn the momentum long enough for Carolina to tie it, then saved things for the Hurricanes late in the third period by stoning Maxim Afinogenov on a breakaway and then robbing Jochen Hecht from point-blank range early in overtime.
That was enough to keep the Hurricanes alive and allow them to come back and win the game on a Cory Stillman power-play goal, courtesy of a lucky bounce off the back boards.
"We all feel good about our game yesterday. It could have gone either way and we could be sitting here talking about being up 3-2 and how we have to control the series," said Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller. "We are in for a test but as long as we keep playing, anything can happen."
The Hurricanes understand that.
"You always want to finish it up as soon as you can because nobody wants to get pushed to a Game 7," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "Their backs are against the wall and we have to have that same mentality.
"They don't have the luxury of not being successful and if we're going to be successful, we're going to have to match that."
The key, said Stillman, is to get off to a quick start and to get the first goal, which would take the loud Buffalo crowd out of the game. If they manage it, the 'Canes know there's a bit of a bonus involved beyond getting a shot at playing for the Stanley Cup.
"It would be nice to have a couple of days off, too," said Stillman