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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 11:40 AM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE

TODAY’S NEWS
- Optional morning skate today; 15 skaters and Jhonas Enroth took part.
- Nathan Gerbe and Mike Weber will both be game-time decisions.
- Brayden McNabb and TJ Brennan remain with the team; one will sit if Weber plays.
- Ryan Miller will start his 12th straight game.
- Miller’s all-time record vs. TOR: 26-14-0, 2.38 GAA & .924 save%

WHAT THEY WERE SAYING TODAY
Lindy Ruff (listen to the full audio)
Is your outlook a little better following the Washington loss last night?
When you get help, obviously it creates hope. You don’t anticipate teams losing certain games, but it always seems to happen. We’ve gotta take care of our end of it now.

What has to be better tonight compared to Saturday’s loss in Toronto?
I thought our first three or four shifts were textbook. We made the big mistake that gave them the breakaway, and gave them some life. Our big mistakes have to be less. And I don’t think at the end of the game, you shouldn’t be saying ‘I should’ve done something.’

Does Nathan Gerbe have a chance to play tonight?
It looks like it. We’re gonna have him out there in warmup and make sure that he can go. If he’s ready, he’ll play.

Will Mike Weber play too?
Mike skated this morning. Now we just need to make sure that if he’s ready, he’ll play.

Jordan Leopold (listen to the full audio)
Has the mood in the locker room changed following the Washington loss to Tampa last night?
I think we see a little bit of light. Definitely watching the scoreboard last night gives you a little bit more energy. This morning was a good optional skate for us, we had fun out there.

What’s the key to keeping Toronto off the rush?
Turnovers. If you look at our past two games, we’ve let in more than three goals each game. At this point in the year you won’t win a lot of games when you do that. Definitely the turnovers have been the main factor. Mistakes are going to happen, and that’s hockey. It’s just the way of managing mistakes and making those work out for you.

How do you overcome having both Ehrhoff and Myers out of the lineup?
We’ve seen the same scenario earlier in the season. Missing those guys is a big part of our back end. Of course, we need to find a way to win. At this point in the year we just need the two points. Whatever it takes tonight, we’ll do it.



SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN
Washington – 8th place (88 pts., 40-32-8; ROW-36)
Games Remaining: 2
Next Game: Thursday vs. FLA
Home Games: 1 (FLA-Thurs, 7 p.m.)
Away Games: 1 (NYR-Sat, 6:30 p.m.)

Buffalo – 9th place (86 pts., 38-31-10; ROW-31)
Games Remaining: 3
Next Game: Tonight vs. TOR
Home Games: 1 (TOR-Tonight)
Away Games: 2 (PHIL-Thurs, 7 p.m.; BOS-Sat, 4 p.m.)



TONIGHT’S GAME
MAPLE LEAFS at SABRES
-This is the sixth and final meeting between the Sabres and Maple Leafs this season.
-Last meeting: Toronto defeated Buffalo, 4-3, in Toronto on March 31.
-The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Maple Leafs; 9-1-0 at home.
-This is the 184th game all-time between Buffalo and Toronto; Buffalo leads the series with a 101-60-22 record. Buffalo is 60-25-7 at home against the Maple Leafs all-time.

STORYLINES
-April is Buffalo’s best regular season month since the lockout, with a combined record of 22-10-2 (.676) in 34 games. The Sabres went 4-0-1 in April to finish the 2010-11 season.
-The Sabres have won 10 of their last 11 home games vs. Toronto. Buffalo has not lost the home portion of a home-and-home series with the Maple Leafs since Dec. 20, 1970 (4-2 loss). The Sabres are 8-1-2 (two ties) all-time in the home portion of these series.
-With a win, Buffalo would sweep the home schedule of their season series with Toronto for the fourth time since the Maple Leafs joined the Eastern Conference before the 1998-99 season: 1999-00 (2-0-0), 2005-06 (4-0-0) and 2009-10 (3-0-0).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Buffalo is 31-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 29-6-4 when scoring three or more… Thomas Vanek has seven points (3+4) in his last seven games… Marcus Foligno was named the NHL “Rookie of the Month” for the month of March.

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POSTED ON Monday, 04.02.2012 / 3:16 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / BEYOND THE BOARDS

The Buffalo Sabres will be missing their top two defensemen again tomorrow when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town, in the back end of the home-and-home series that started with a 4-3 Toronto win on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre.

Myers
Tyler Myers missed Saturday’s game with a foot injury, after absorbing a shot to the boot against Pittsburgh on Friday. Myers didn’t practice with the team today, but Lindy Ruff said he hasn’t ruled out Myers returning this week for Buffalo’s final two games in Philadelphia and Boston.

The news isn’t so good on Christian Ehrhoff, who was injured in Washington last Tuesday. Ruff did rule out Ehrhoff for the rest of the regular season, but said there’s a chance he could return for the playoffs if the Sabres were to qualify.

The absence of both players creates a huge void on the Buffalo blueline, and that was evident in Saturday’s loss to the Maple Leafs.

“If you take two of your top defensemen out of any team in the league, you’re a different team. You can go to almost any team and that’s the case,” said Ruff. “I thought we did some good things in the game, but we made some mistakes. We had some players in situations maybe they hadn’t been in, and it allowed Toronto to get the upper hand.”

LISTEN TO COMPLETE LINDY RUFF INTERVIEW

Ellis
Brayden McNabb and TJ Brennan are still with the team after being recalled on an emergency basis Saturday, and they could both be in the lineup again on Tuesday. But Mike Weber went through a full practice today after also missing Saturday’s game with an injury, and Ruff said he could also be available to play tomorrow.

In other injury news, Matt Ellis has been cleared to play and could be ready to go on Tuesday if needed. Ellis has missed the last 10 games since injuring his knee in Ottawa on March 10. Nathan Gerbe continues his recovery from an upper body muscle strain. Ruff classified him as a “maybe” for Tuesday, saying that he could be at the point where he’s able to return to game action.



Buffalo’s red-hot 10-4-2 run through March enable the team to get back into playoff contention, and it also contributed to a pair of Sabres receiving monthly individual honors from the NHL. Ryan Miller was named as the NHL’s Third Star of the month, and Marcus Foligno was recognized as the league’s Rookie of the Month.

Foligno
Foligno was recalled for the second time this season on March 10, and scored his first career goal that night in Ottawa. He finished the month with 11 points (6+5) in 11 games, including two-goal performances less than a week apart against Colorado (Mar. 14) and Tampa Bay (Mar. 19).   

“It’s amazing what has happened this month, not just for myself, but the run the team has gone on,” said Foligno. “At the same time, it’s an honor to be Rookie of the Month. There are some great players in this league. For me to come in like I did and have success with Ennis and Stafford has been huge. I have to give those guys a lot of credit for my success.”

LISTEN TO COMPLETE MARCUS FOLIGNO INTERVIEW

Miller compiled a 10-3-2 record with a 2.17 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and two shutouts while starting 15 of Buffalo’s 16 March games. He won five straight starts from March 19-27, and went 10 consecutive games without suffering a regulation defeat (March 7-27, 8-0-2). Miller has started 11 straight games; 21 of the last 22 games; and 31 of Buffalo's last 33.

Despite joining Ilya Bryzgalov and Evgeni Malkin as the league’s monthly award winners, Miller’s focus continues to be on one thing: winning the next game. That’s something they didn’t do in either game over the weekend.

Miller
“I guess it’s not something to sit and celebrate. I probably would approach it the same way: that month’s over, and we’re into the last month of our regular season. I just want to be good now.”

LISTEN TO COMPLETE RYAN MILLER INTERVIEW

Buffalo’s two weekend losses, combined with Washington’s shootout win over Montreal on Saturday, leaves them two points back of the Capitals for eighth place in the Eastern Conference – with each team having three games left to play. However, Buffalo can’t finish the season in a tie with Washington because the Capitals own the tiebreaker. A win by Washington tonight in Tampa would almost force the Sabres to run the table with three straight wins to end the season in order to keep themselves in the postseason conversation.

“We just need to win and take care of our business,” Miller said today. “The focus becomes Tuesday. We had a tough weekend. We didn’t do what we needed to do. We didn’t play the way we probably needed to play. We’ve gotta do the job now and see how it falls.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 11:40 AM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE

TODAY’S NEWS
- No morning skate today; Lindy Ruff didn’t speak to media this morning.
- Ruff will provide injury updates on Derek Roy and Mike Weber sometime around 5 p.m.
- Ryan Miller all-time vs. TOR: 26-13-0, 2.33 GAA & .925 save%
- Miller @ Air Canada Centre: 11-8-0, 2.48 GAA & .920 save%
- Jhonas Enroth all-time vs. TOR: 1-0-0, 1.88 GAA & .920 save% (only game @ Tor, 11/6/10)
- According to Paul Hendrick of Leafs TV, Ben Scrivens is expected to start in goal for Toronto
- Toronto has lost a franchise-record 11 straight home games
- In their last game, Toronto was handed a 7-1 defeat at the ACC by Philadelphia.



SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN
Ottawa – 7th place (88 pts., 39-28-10; ROW-34)
Games Remaining: 5
Games vs. Teams Currently in Playoff Contention: 3
Next Game: Today @ Philadelphia
Home Games: 2 (CAR-Tues, BOS-Thurs)
Away Games: 3 (PHIL-today, NYI-Sun, NJ-Sat)
Last Game: April 7 @ New Jersey

Washington – 8th place (86 pts., 39-31-8; ROW-36)
Games Remaining: 4
Games vs. Teams Currently in Playoff Contention: 2
Next Game: Tonight @ Montreal
Home Games: 2 (MTL-tonight, FLA-Thurs)
Away Games: 2 (TB-Mon, NYR-Sat)
Last Game: April 7 @ NY Rangers

Buffalo – 9th place (86 pts., 38-30-10; ROW-31)
Games Remaining: 4
Games vs. Teams Currently in Playoff Contention: 2
Next Game: Tonight @ Toronto
Home Games: 1 (TOR-Tues)
Away Games: 3 (TOR-today, PHIL-Thurs, BOS-Sat)
Last Game: April 7 @ Boston

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at MAPLE LEAFS

- Fifth of six meetings between the Sabres and Maple Leafs this season.
- Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Toronto, 3-2, in Buffalo on Jan. 13.
- The Sabres are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Maple Leafs; 5-5-0 on the road.
- 183rd game all-time between Buffalo and Toronto; Buffalo leads the series with a 101-59-22 record. Buffalo is 41-34-15 on the road against the Maple Leafs all-time.
- The two teams will meet for the final time this season on Tuesday in Buffalo to conclude this home-and-home series.

STORYLINES
- Buffalo enters today in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, after beginning the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place and 10 points out of eighth in the East. Since then, they’ve gone 14-3-4 (.762), compiling the league's second-best record during that stretch. Pittsburgh is best at 16-4-1(.786).
- The Sabres are looking to avoid losing three games in Toronto for the third time in franchise history. The two times were 1999-00 (0-2-1) and 1973-74 (0-3-0).
- Buffalo has gotten a point in 11 of their last 12 games (8-2-2) and 19 of their last 21 (14-3-4).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Buffalo is 31-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 29-5-4 when scoring three or more… The Sabres have gone 10-for-50 on the power play (20%) and 36-for-40 on the penalty kill (90%) in their last 17 games, compiling an 11-3-3 record in those games.

RAKING AGAINST THE LEAFS
Thomas Vanek has 43 points (22+21) in 42 career games against Toronto… Jason Pominville has 41 points (15+26) in 44 career games against the Maple Leafs, including five (2+3) in four games this season… Ryan Miller is 26-13-0 all-time against Toronto with a 2.33 GAA and a .926 SV%; Miller has more wins (26) and shutouts (4) against the Maple Leafs than any other team.

AVOIDING OVERTIME
The last nine games between the Sabres and the Maple Leafs have been decided in regulation, tying the longest such stretch between these teams since the NHL added the overtime period in 1983-84 (April 16, 2006 to March 24, 2007).
 
MARCH TO THE PLAYOFFS
The Sabres are 10-3-2 (.733) with 22 points in the month of March, the most points the team has attained in a month since December 2005.
The team has now had 22 or more points in a month six times in franchise history: November 1974, 27 points (12-1-3); March 1979, 24 points (10-3-4); January 1984, 24 points (11-0-2); December 2005, 23 points (11-2-1); March 2012, 22 points (10-3-2); January 1988, 22 points (10-4-2).
 
MILLER TIME
Ryan Miller has gone 19-4-5 with one “no decision” in his last 29 games, dating back to Jan. 24 at NJD. During that stretch, Miller has compiled a .938 save percentage and a 1.88 goals against average, with five shutouts. Miller was chosen as one of the NHL “Three Stars of the Week” twice during this period, selected as first star for the week ending March 4 and as second star for the week ending March 25.

LET'S PLAY TWO
Tonight’s game concludes Buffalo’s final of a league-high 21 sets of back-to-back games this season after last night’s 5-3 loss vs. PIT. The Sabres are 13-8-0 in the first game and 7-8-5 in the second. The Sabres’ points breakdown in back-to-back sets is as follows: four points (4), three points (2), two points (10), one point (3) and zero points (1).
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.27.2012 / 12:38 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE

MORNING SKATE LINES
Stafford-Ennis-Foligno
Vanek-Hodgson-Tropp
Leino-Roy-Pominville
McCormick-Boyes-Kaleta

LINEUP NEWS
- Patrick Kaleta returns to the lineup after missing three games with an upper body injury.
- Ryan Miller gets the start in goal; 12-9-0 all-time vs. WSH; 2.52 GAA, .914 save%, 3 SO’s
- Nathan Gerbe remains out of the lineup; Ruff says he's not as far along in recovery as they'd hoped.
- Travis Turnbull has been returned to Rochester (AHL).

WHAT THEY WERE SAYING TODAY
Lindy Ruff (listen to the full audio)
Is it good to have Patrick Kaleta back in the lineup?
Yeah. Pat has done a good job killing penalties, and has good energy. It feels good.

With all the hype about this game, what’s it like to finally be here?
Obviously we’ve had to focus one game at a time. We’ve pushed hard. Washington has played well. I think they’ve got six of eight, and we’ve won four straight. We know that this game has big implications one way or the other. But there are still games after this game. For us, we are looking at one game at a time. We have to play well. We know that Ovechkin has been going well for them. We’ve got a job to do tonight.

What has been the difference with the defensive play of the Roy line?
They’ve grabbed a hold of their role. And they’ve tried to make sure they’ve done a good job against top lines. Tonight we’re gonna need two lines. They’ve got Ovechkin playing on two different lines, they’re double shifting him; he’s playing 25 plus minutes. All the lines are gonna have to be responsible. We know what he’s capable of doing if you give him space and time You give him anything on the rush and he’s a dangerous player.

Patrick Kaleta (listen to the full audio): “I always enjoy challenges. If you don’t take on those challenges, life is pretty calm and uneventful.”

Drew Stafford: “For as long as I can remember, every game has been like the biggest game of the year … Tonight is just another opportunity to go out and get two points.”

Jordan Leopold: “We just need to go out there and have fun … Limit our mistakes and take advantage of our opportunities.”

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at CAPITALS
-Fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Capitals this season.
-Last meeting: Washington defeated Buffalo, 3-1, in Washington on Dec. 30.
-The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Capitals; 4-5-1 on the road.
-This is the 140th game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo leads the series with an 82-41-16 record; 38-21-10 on the road.

STORYLINES
- The Sabres are looking for their first win in Washington since Apr. 3, 2009. With a win, Buffalo would win the season series against Washington for the first time since they went 3-1-0 against the Capitals in 2007-08.
- Buffalo enters tonight’s game tied with Washington for eighth place after beginning the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference. Since then, they’ve gone 13-2-4 (.789), trailing only Pittsburgh for the league's best record during that stretch.
- The Sabres are on a four-game winning streak for the second time this season (last: Nov. 4 to Nov. 11). They haven’t won five straight since winning six in a row from Dec. 29, 2009 to Jan. 8, 2010.
- Buffalo has earned a point in nine of their last 10 games (7-1-2) and 17 of their last 19 (13-2-4).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Buffalo is 30-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 28-4-4 when scoring three or more… Ryan Miller was named the NHL’s ‘Second Star of the Week’ for the week ending March 25 after going 4-0-0 with a 1.26 GAA and a .956 SV% last week… In three games against Washington this season, Buffalo has gotten goals from seven different skaters and points from 16… Derek Roy has led all Sabres in ice time in each of the last two games, and in seven total games this season… The Sabres haven’t been outscored in the third period in their last eight games.

FOLIGNO-ENNIS-STAFFORD
*Buffalo’s line of Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno has combined for 15 goals and 33 total points in the last eight games.
*Foligno has 10 points (6+4) and a plus-8 rating in eight games since his recall on March 9. Prior to this recall, Foligno had only played one NHL game. Only five other active players have scored six or more goals in their first nine career games: Teemu Selanne (8), Evgeni Malkin (8), Devin Setoguchi (7), Ilya Kovalchuk (6) and Alex Ovechkin (6).
*Ennis has 20 points (8+12) in his last 20 games. The Sabres are 13-1-5 when Ennis records a point this season and 40-9-9 when he tallies a point in his career.
*Stafford has 12 points (4+8) in his last seven games, topping his previous career best of 11 points seven games.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Cody Hodgson is on pace to play 83 games this season, including 48 on the road. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Hodgson’s 48 road games in one season would be an NHL record. The current record is 47, held by Darryl Sydor (1995-96) and Niklas Hagman (2005-06). The most road games by a player who spent part of the season in Buffalo is currently 46 (Mike Foligno, 1981-82).

EVERYBODY’S CHIPPING IN
Buffalo has gotten goals from 29 different scorers this season, the most since 29 different players scored for the Sabres in 1992-93. Buffalo’s franchise record is 30, set in 1986-87 and matched in 1987-88 and 1991-92.

ROOKIE MAGIC
The Sabres have had six different players score their first career goal this season: Corey Tropp, TJ Brennan, Zack Kassian, Brayden McNabb, Marcus Foligno and Travis Turnbull. The last time six different players scored their first goal for the Sabres was 1992-93:Richard Smehlik, Viktor Gordiouk, Yuri Khmylev, Scott Thomas, Doug MacDonald and Matthew Barnaby.

FINISHING STRONG AFTER THE BREAK
Buffalo is 543-400-185 (.563) all-time in games after the All-Star break. This includes a record of 92-47-23 (.639) in those games since the lockout. The Sabres are 17-5-5 (.722) since the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. These totals do not include games after breaks for the Olympic Games.

BATTLING BACK
The Sabres began the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of a playoff spot after a 7-2 loss at PHI the night before. Since then, the team has gone 13-2-4. Only one team in NHL history has overcome a 10 point deficit this late in the season, when the New York Islanders rallied from a 10-point hole on Feb. 18, 1994 to snag eighth place in the conference.
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POSTED ON Monday, 03.26.2012 / 1:05 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / BEYOND THE BOARDS
Tuesday’s game in Washington marks game 77 of the 2011-12 season for the Buffalo Sabres, and it’s number 1,144 on the league calendar. But regardless of how you spin it, this will not have the feel of just another mid-week game.

“To say it’s a big game is an understatement,” said Robyn Regehr. “It’s the biggest game we’ve faced all year.”

The Sabres head into the Verizon Center tied with the Capitals in points at 84, but occupy ninth place by virtue of the tiebreaker. The calendar may say March, but this is definitely going to have a playoff-like atmosphere.

“To be honest, every game since I’ve been up here has felt like a playoff game,” said rookie Corey Tropp.

Even the veterans like Thomas Vanek know what Tropp is talking about.

“Every game has had a playoff feel to it,” said Vanek. “It’s been like that since January.”

Head coach Lindy Ruff says there’s not much that he needs to say to his team at this point, because they know exactly what’s at stake.

“It’s an opportunity that we’ve worked hard for,” explained Ruff. “You get to play the team that’s right there in the standings with you. It’s big points for both teams.

To say it’s a big game is an understatement. It’s the biggest game we’ve faced all year. - Robyn Regehr
“It’s a big game obviously for us, but we’ve got (five) more games left after that. It’s not the end of the world. We know we need to play well. We know they’ve played better as of late. Ovechkin’s played better of late. I don’t think I have to sell anything. They know where they’re at. They understand where we can get to, and how big the two points are. I shouldn’t have to sell it this time of year.” 



Ruff said that Patrick Kaleta and Nathan Gerbe have been cleared to play, and would be available to the team on Tuesday. Gerbe has missed the last six games with an upper body muscle strain, while Kaleta has been out for the past three games with a hand injury.



For the second time in the past three weeks, Ryan Miller was recognized by the NHL as one of the “Stars of the Week.” Miller was named the league’s second star for the past week, joining Evegni Malkin (first) and Alex Ovechkin (third)  in receiving the weekly honors.

Miller led the NHL with four wins last week, posting a 1.26 goals-against average and .956 save percentage during Buffalo’s four-game winning streak. He made 24 stops in a 7-3 victory at the Tampa Bay Lightning March 19, recorded his career-high sixth shutout of the season in a 3-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens March 21, stopped 26 shots in a 4-1 triumph at the New York Rangers March 23 and closed the week with 24 saves in a 3-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild March 24. The 2009-10 Vezina Trophy winner is 29-18-7 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 56 appearances.


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POSTED ON Friday, 03.23.2012 / 12:21 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE

LINEUP NEWS
- Optional morning skate today; Lindy Ruff didn’t speak to the media this morning.
- Ryan Miller expected to start in goal; 12-5-4 all-time vs. NYR, 2.26 GAA & .925 save%
- Miller is 6-2-2 all-time at MSG: 2.35 GAA/.923 save%
- Nathan Gerbe remains out with an upper body muscle strain.



SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN
Washington – 8th place (81 pts., 37-30-7)
Games Remaining: 8
Games vs. Teams Currently in Playoff Contention: 3
Next Game: Tonight vs. Winnipeg
Home Games: 5 (WPG, MINN, BUF, MTL, FLA)
Away Games: 3 (BOS, TB, NYR)
Back-to-Back Games: 1 (3/22 @ PHIL, 3/23 vs. WPG)
Last Game: April 7 @ NY Rangers

Buffalo – 9th place (80 pts., 35-29-10)
Games Remaining: 8
Games vs. Teams Currently in Playoff Contention: 5
Next Game: Tonight @ NY Rangers
Home Games: 3 (MINN, PITT, TOR)
Away Games: 5 (NYR, WASH, TOR, PHIL, BOS)
Back-to-Back Games: 2 (3/23 @ NYR, 3/24 @ MINN; 3/30 VS. PITT, 3/31 @ TOR)
Last Game: April 7 @ Boston

Winnipeg – 10th place (76 pts., 34-31-8)
Games Remaining: 9
Games vs. Teams Currently in Playoff Contention: 5
Next Game: Tonight @ Washington
Home Games: 3 (OTT, NYR, TB)
Away Games: 6 (WASH, NASH, CAR, TB, FLA, NYI)
Back-to-Back Games: 2 (3/23 @ WSH, 3/24 @ NSH; 3/30 @ CAR, 3/31 @ TB)
Last Game: April 7 vs. Tampa Bay



TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at RANGERS

- Fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Rangers this season.
- Last game: New York defeated Buffalo, 3-2 (OT), in New York on Feb. 25.
- The Sabres are 5-2-3 in their last 10 games vs. the Rangers; 5-3-2 on the road.
- 162nd game all-time between Sabres and Rangers; Buffalo leads the series with a 76-53-32 record. Buffalo is 30-30-19 on the road against the Rangers all-time.

STORYLINES
- Buffalo enters the day one point out of a playoff spot after beginning the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference. Since then, they’ve gone 11-2-4 (.765), trailing only Pittsburgh for the league's best record during that stretch.
- The Sabres have gotten a point in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2) and 15 of their last 17 (11-2-4).
- Buffalo will look to avoid a season sweep by the Rangers for the first time since 2007-08 (0-3-1).
- Drew Stafford (2+0) and Thomas Vanek (1+1) each have two points in two games against the Rangers this season. Ryan Miller is 12-5-4 against New York in his career with a 2.27 GAA (0-0-2, 1.41 GAA this year).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Buffalo is 28-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 26-4-4 when scoring three or more… Ryan Miller has five shutouts in his last 23 games; his total of six this season is a career best, after he registered five in each of the last three seasons… Cody Hodgson has four points (2+2) in his last two games; Jason Pominville has five points (3+2) in his last five.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Cody Hodgson is on pace to play 83 games this season, including 48 on the road. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Hodgson’s 48 road games in one season would be an NHL record. The current record is 47, held by Darryl Sydor (1995-96) and Niklas Hagman (2005-06). The most road games by a player who spent part of the season in Buffalo is currently 46 (Mike Foligno, 1981-82).

LET'S PLAY TWO
Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s 20th of a league-high 21 sets of back-to-back games this season. The Sabres are 12-7-0 in the first game and 6-8-5 in the second. The Sabres’ points breakdown in back-to-back sets is as follows: four points (3), three points (2), two points (10), one point (3) and zero points (1). Buffalo continues this set tomorrow vs. Minnesota.

EVERYBODY’S CHIPPING IN
The Sabres have gotten goals from 28 different scorers this season, second most in the league (Columbus, 30). The Sabres last had 28 or more goal scorers in 1992-93, when they had 29. Buffalo’s franchise record is 30, set in 1986-87 and matched in 1987-88 and 1991-92.

JUST HOW HE DREW IT UP
Drew Stafford has nine points (2+7) in his last five games. The most prolific five-game stretch of Stafford’s career saw him notch 10 points (9+1) from Feb. 5 to Feb. 15, 2011. The only other time he had at least nine points in five games was from Jan. 18 to Jan. 29, 2008 (5+4).

ENNIS IS ON FIRE
Tyler Ennis has 17 points (7+10) in his last 18 games. The Sabres are 12-1-5 when Ennis records a point this season and 39-9-9 when he tallies a point in his career.

FINISHING STRONG AFTER THE BREAK
Buffalo is 541-400-185 (.563) all-time in games after the All-Star break. This includes a record of 90-47-23 (.634) in those games since the lockout. The Sabres are 15-5-5 (.700) since the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. These totals do not include games after breaks for the Olympic Games.

BATTLING BACK
The Sabres began the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of a playoff spot after a 7-2 loss at PHI the night before. Since then, the team has gone 11-2-4. Only one team in NHL history has overcome a 10 point deficit this late in the season, when the New York Islanders rallied from a 10-point hole on Feb. 18, 1994 to snag eighth place in the conference.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 3:42 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Just because the finish line is finally within sight, it doesn’t mean the Buffalo Sabres will be easing up on the accelerator anytime soon. That’s the overwhelming sentiment coming out of the locker room following Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over Montreal.

The win allowed the Sabres to pull even with Washington at 80 points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Capitals hold the first tiebreaker over Buffalo. The Capitals have 35 combined regulation and overtime wins (ROW) this season to Buffalo’s 28.

(Long story short: if the two teams remain tied after the final day of the season, all the Capitals will need is two more regulation or overtime wins in their final nine games to clinch the tiebreaker.)

Simply getting within shooting distance of eighth place is only the first step in a long climb back to respectability for a Sabres team that sat in 14th place as recently as February 16, after being manhandled 7-2 by the Philadelphia Flyers that night.

“We haven’t done anything yet, and that’s the point we’re trying to make,” said head coach Lindy Ruff. “We’ve worked hard to get to this spot, but we don’t have anything. We know how tough the schedule is ahead of us. We can’t take a game for granted.

“There’s teams around you. Winnipeg is right there with Washington, and Carolina has actually moved up a little bit. We haven’t achieved anything; we know that as a team. We know that we’re gonna have to win some games that some people may expect to be too tough of a task for us.

While many point to the return to form of goaltender Ryan Miller as the catalyst for the team’s turnaround, veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr says the entire team’s play has become solidified in all facets.

“We’ve done a better job offensively in capitalizing. And I think we’ve done a better job defensively too – from the goaltenders on out to the defensemen and forwards. So there’s lots of things. All those little things that we keep talking about, those help the team win games.

“With a team in team sports, there’s a lot of moving parts to winning a game. It’s going out and playing the game plan and executing. It’s making sure you have the guys in the lineup to do that. It’s putting in the work and preparation. It all adds up to good positive stuff and wins.”



Ruff said that Nathan Gerbe is finally making some progress in his recovery from an upper body muscle strain that has kept him out of the lineup for the past four games. He will remain in Buffalo and skate on his own while the team travels to New York for Friday’s 7 p.m. game against the Rangers.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.21.2012 / 12:05 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE

LINEUP NEWS
- Patrick Kaleta will not play; he is day-to-day with an upper body injury
- Travis Turnbull will make his NHL debut on the RW with Boyes & McCormick
- Ryan Miller gets the start in goal; 22-8-6 all-time vs. MTL; 2.26 GAA & .923 save%
- Tyler Myers returns to the lineup after serving his three-game suspension.
- Nathan Gerbe remains day-to-day with an upper body muscle strain.

WHAT THE COACH SAID TODAY
Lindy Ruff (listen to the full audio)
Is Pat Kaleta suffering from that neck injury again?
No; nothing to do with the neck. He’ll be out. He suffered an upper body injury. He’s probably more than day-to-day.

Are you going to go with seven defensemen tonight or will you use Travis Turnbull?
Turnbull’s gonna play, so we’ll go with six.

What have you liked about Turnbull’s game in Rochester?
It’s more of what we’ve got from Ron (Rolston) in Rochester. Replacing Patty with Turnbull, we’re replacing the same type of player: agitator, scrappy kid that plays on the edge. He’s really played hard down there. You bring him in, and we were looking for a fourth line role, there were a couple of choices but Ron thought he’d be the best guy for us. It’s sort of a win-win. He’s got good hands and good speed. A real competitive kid. He’ll fit right in where he’s playing.

TONIGHT’S GAME
CANADIENS at SABRES

- Sixth and final meeting between the Sabres and Canadiens this season.
- Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Montreal, 3-2 (OT), in Buffalo on March 12.
- The Sabres are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Canadiens; 6-2-2 at home.
- 253rd game all-time between Buffalo and Montreal; the Sabres are 115-100-37 against the Canadiens (67-34-24 at home).

STORYLINES
- Buffalo enters the day two points out of a playoff spot after beginning the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference.
- The Sabres have gotten a point in six of their last seven games (4-1-2) and 14 of their last 16 (10-2-4).
- Buffalo has points in their last seven home games (5-0-2). Their best stretch this year was 10 games, from Dec. 13 to Feb. 10 (6-0-4).
- The Sabres are 11-5-4 against the Northeast Division this season, including a 4-0-1 record against the Canadiens. Buffalo has gone 7-0-1 in their last seven against the Habs, dating back to Nov. 27, 2010.
- Derek Roy has six points (1+5) against the Canadiens this season and leads all Sabres with 36 points (12+24) in 46 career games against the Habs.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Tyler Myers returns from a three-game suspension tonight… Buffalo is 27-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 25-4-4 when scoring three or more… Jason Pominville is ranked fourth in the league with 42 points (16+26) in 36 home games.

JUST HOW HE DREW IT UP
Drew Stafford has nine points (2+7) in his last four games and is one game away from tying the longest point streak of his career (4x, last: 10/13/09 vs. DET to 10/24/09 at TBL). The most prolific five-game stretch of Stafford’s career saw him notch 10 points (9+1) from Feb. 5 to Feb. 15, 2011. The only other time he had at least nine points in five games was from Jan. 18 to Jan. 29, 2008 (5+4).

WORKING OVERTIME
The Sabres lead the league with 21 overtime games, including an NHL-high 14 at home. Entering tonight, Buffalo has seen four straight home games (3-0-1) go to extra time for the fourth time in franchise history (last: Jan. 27 to Feb. 25, 1998). The franchise record for most overtime home games in a season was set in 1990-91, when the Sabres went 2-2-12 in 16 games.

ENNIS IS ON FIRE
Tyler Ennis has points in each of his last five games (4+5), tying his career-best point streak (last: Feb. 4 to March 3, 2012). Ennis now has 17 points (7+10) in his last 17 games. The Sabres are 12-1-5 when Ennis records a point this season and 39-9-9 when he tallies a point in his career.

MAKING THE JUMP
Marcus Foligno has seven points (5+2) and a plus-6 rating in five games since his recall on March 9. Prior to this recall, Foligno had only played one NHL game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Phil Housley (9) and Ray Sheppard (7) are the only other Sabres in franchise history to have scored seven or more points in their first six career games. Among active NHL players, only two others (Evgeni Malkin and Teemu Selanne) had five or more goals in their first six games.

FINISHING STRONG AFTER THE BREAK
Buffalo is 539-400-185 (.562) all-time in games after the All-Star break. This includes a record of 88-47-23 (.630) in those games since the lockout. The Sabres are 13-5-5 (.674) since the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. These totals do not include games after breaks for the Olympic Games.

BATTLING BACK
The Sabres began the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of a playoff spot after a 7-2 loss at PHI the night before. Since then, the team has gone 10-2-4. Only one team in NHL history has overcome a 10 point deficit this late in the season, when the New York Islanders rallied from a 10-point hole on Feb. 18, 1994 to snag eighth place in the conference.
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POSTED ON Monday, 03.19.2012 / 1:08 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE

LINEUP NEWS
- No lineup changes for tonight’s game.
- Ryan Miller is expected to get the start in goal; 17-7 all-time vs. TB, 2.74 GAA & .906 save%
- Tyler Myers will serve the final game of his three-game suspension.
- Nathan Gerbe remains day-to-day with an upper body muscle strain.

WHAT THE COACH SAID TODAY
Lindy Ruff (listen to the full audio)
It must feel good to know you got some help in the standings last night?
At this time of year there are nights you get disappointed, and nights when you get pretty excited. Last night was a night where Carolina scores a late goal, and you can relate to the pain. But you can go to bed with a smile on your face knowing those are two big points we can go after tonight, and try to get up the standings.

What’s the biggest challenge you face with the Lightning?
Obviously you point to Stamkos as number one. And I think St. Louis is a big part of what goes on on the ice. But Stamkos has had a heck of a year again, and he’s a guy that can win a game himself. We’ve gotta make sure we don’t let him in behind us. Their power play is still dangerous, and Stamkos can get himself in a position to shoot two or three times each power play.



SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN
Washington – 8th place (78 pts., 36-30-6)
Games Remaining: 10
Next Game: Tonight @ Detroit
Home Games: 5 (WPG, MINN, BUF, MTL, FLA)
Away Games: 5 (DET, PHIL, BOS, TB, NYR)
Back-to-Back Games: 1 (3/22 @ PHIL, 3/23 vs. WPG)
Last Game: April 7 @ NY Rangers

Winnipeg – 9th place (76 pts., 34-30-8)
Games Remaining: 10
Next Game: Tuesday @ Pittsburgh
Home Games: 3 (OTT, NYR, TB)
Away Games: 7 (PHIL, WASH, NASH, CAR, TB, FLA, NYI)
Back-to-Back Games: 2 (3/23 @ WSH, 3/24 @ NSH; 3/30 @ CAR, 3/31 @ TB)
Last Game: April 7 vs. Tampa Bay

Buffalo – 10th place (76 pts., 33-29-10)
Games Remaining: 10
Next Game: Tonight @ Tampa Bay
Home Games: 4 (MTL, MINN, PITT, TOR)
Away Games: 6 (TB, NYR, WASH, TOR, PHIL, BOS)
Back-to-Back Games: 2 (3/23 @ NYR, 3/24 vs. MINN; 3/30 vs. PITT, 3/31 @ TOR)
Last Game: April 7 @ Boston



TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at LIGHTNING
-Fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Lightning this season.
-Last meeting: Tampa Bay defeated Buffalo, 2-1, in Buffalo on Feb. 11.
-The Sabres are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Lightning; 7-3-0 on the road.
-This is the 74th game all-time between Buffalo and Tampa Bay; Buffalo leads the series with a 46-22-5 record. They are 24-9-3 on the road against the Lightning.

STORYLINES
-Buffalo enters the day two points out of a playoff spot after beginning the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference.
-The Sabres have gotten a point in five of their last six games (3-1-2) and 12 of their last 14 (9-2-4).
-Tampa Bay has beaten Buffalo three times for the second time in franchise history (last: 3-0-1 in 2003-04). The Lightning have never swept the season series against the Sabres.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Andrej Sekera led all Sabres in ice time (24:21) in his first game back after missing five games with pneumonia on Saturday at FLA… Drew Stafford has six points (1+5) in his last three games… Buffalo is 27-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 24-4-4 when scoring three or more… The Sabres have played an NHL-high 21 overtime games, including their last four and five of their last six… Buffalo is 7-9-2 against the Southeast Division this season; Tampa Bay is 7-9-0 against the Northeast.

LEADING THE WAY AGAINST TAMPA BAY
Four Sabres (Boyes, Pominville, Roy, Vanek) average more than a point per game against the Lightning in their careers… Ryan Miller is 17-7-0 all-time against TBL with a 2.74 GAA… Jason Pominville leads all Sabres with 33 career points (14+19) in 26 games against TBL … Thomas Vanek leads the team with 23 goals in only 27 games against TBL, two shy of his career-best 25 against Boston (42 GP).

ENNIS IS ON FIRE
Tyler Ennis has points in each of his last four games (4+3), one game short of his career-best five (Feb. 4 to March 3, 2012). Ennis now has 15 points (7+8) in his last 16 games. The Sabres are 11-1-5 when Ennis records a point this season and 38-9-9 when he tallies a point in his career.


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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 12:47 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE

MORNING SKATE LINES
Tropp-Roy-Pominville
Stafford-Ennis-Foligno
Vanek-Hodgson-Leino
McCormick-Boyes-Kaleta

LINEUP NEWS
- Tyler Myers will serve the second game of his three-game suspension
- Ryan Miller is expected to get the start in goal.
- Andrej Sekera returns after missing five games; Brayden McNabb will sit out
- Nathan Gerbe is out with an upper body injury

WHAT THEY SAID TODAY
*Lindy Ruff (listen to the full audio)
*Andrej Sekera (listen to the full audio)

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at PANTHERS

-This is the fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Panthers this season.
-Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Florida, 2-1 (OT), in Buffalo on Dec. 9.
-The Sabres are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Panthers; 8-2-0 on the road.
-This is the 72nd game all-time between Buffalo and Florida; Buffalo leads the series with a 42-25-4 record. Buffalo is 24-10-3 at home against the Panthers all-time.

STORYLINES
- Buffalo enters the day three points out of a playoff spot after beginning the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference.
- Ryan Miller is 2-1-0 against Florida this season with a 1.33 GAA and a .951 SV%. Miller was won four of his last five games against the Panthers and is 13-8-0 against them in his career with a 2.30 GAA and a .921 SV%.
-Jason Pominville leads all Sabres with 27 points (11+16) in 26 career games against the Panthers, including five (3+2) in three games this season. Pominville has points in six straight games against the Panthers (5+6).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Alexander Sulzer scored his second career goal (first this season) on Wednesday vs. COL… Drew Stafford has five points (1+4) in his last two games… Buffalo is 27-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 24-4-4 when scoring three or more.

ENNIS IS ON FIRE
Tyler Ennis has points in each of his last three games (3+3) and has 14 points (6+8) in his last 15 games. The Sabres are 11-1-4 when Ennis records a point this season and 38-9-8 when he tallies a point in his career. With three assists on Wednesday vs. COL, Ennis recorded his fourth career three-point game. Hehas also won 60.7% of his faceoffs since his switch back to center three games ago.

MAKING THE JUMP
Marcus Foligno recorded his first career goal on Saturday at OTT and then followed that up with his first assist on Monday vs. MTL. After a two-goal game on Wednesday vs. COL, Foligno now has four points (3+1) a plus-4 rating in three games since his recall on March 9. Prior to this recall, Foligno had only played one NHL game. In his first professional season, he has 34 points (14+20) in 55 games in the AHL.

IT’S MILLER TIME
Ryan Miller is 9-1-2 in his last 12 games with a .940 save percentage and a 1.95 goals against average, and 14-3-4 in his last 22 games with a 1.93 goals against average and a .937 save percentage.


 
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