With all of the pressure and hype at the beginning of the season, I’m not surprised that Buffalo struggled at the beginning of the year. We saw a jumble of injuries, but I won’t accept that tired excuse. Tell Pittsburgh that injuries are supposed to stop a team. Instead of believing that, Malkin is on his way to the Art Ross trophy, and the Pens are on their way to a possible Eastern conference championship.
The only injury I will accept is Miller’s. With it being open-season on goalies, it was inevitable. With Miller’s head clouded and trying to do too much, he fell into a slump. It was a rough road at first, but Buffalo is getting hot at the right time.
Tied with Washington, tonight’s game is huge. You’ve heard it before, but Buffalo controls their own destiny. Keep winning and you’re in. Lose, and you play golf like Toronto. I’d hate to think that this late surge was for nought and barely miss the playoffs. Not only is 8th available, but 7th isn’t too far out of reach. The boys can do it, they just need to keep firing on all cylinders. There are a few things the Sabres need to continue doing to make, and compete in the playoffs.
1) Miller needs to stay hot and healthy. If he loses this fire or starts to get cold, the team has almost no chance.
2) Scorers need to keep finding the net. Pommers is on his way to a 30 goal campaign, Stafford seems to have found his late season surge, and Hogdson has figured out how to score again. But we can’t afford for goals to stop being scored. Miller can only save so many.
3) Grit. We need the sandpaper game of the Boston Bruins from last year. Regehr needs to use his body, as does Myers. It’s not enough for McCormick to be the baddest guy on the ice. Put your purses away boys. It’s time to plow your way through late April.
Can the playoffs happen? Yes. Will they? I believe so. I’m not holding my breath for the division, but 7th is a realistic possibility. If everyone continues to play their game, the possibilities are endless.
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