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THE 'MARCH' IS ON

Wednesday, 03.02.2011 / 3:08 PM
By Rob Crean - Public Relations Director / BEYOND THE BOARDS
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BEYOND THE BOARDS
THE \'MARCH\' IS ON

One look at the schedule tells you that March will be the most challenging month of the season for the Buffalo Sabres.

The first reason is obvious.  After Tuesday’s win over the Rangers to start the month, Buffalo sits two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with just 20 games to play, meaning the Sabres’ margin for error is slim.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
March is also Buffalo’s busiest month of the season as the team plays 16 times before the calendar flips to April, which is three more games than the next busiest month of the 2010-11 campaign.  The Sabres played 13 games in November and 12 times in October, December, January and February.  The jam-packed March features five sets of back-to-back games, also the most of any month this season.

In an added twist, the month begins with a season-high seven-game road trip, which ties the franchise record for the longest road trip.  The 12-day excursion began Tuesday at Madison Square Garden and continues in Carolina (Thursday), Philadelphia (Saturday), Minnesota (Sunday), Pittsburgh (Mar. 8), Boston (Mar. 10) and Toronto (Mar. 12).  There will be no rest for the road-weary, however, as Buffalo will host Ottawa at 5 p.m. the day after the final game of the trip. 

Ryan Miller will continue to be counted upon down the stretch, and the netminder has proven throughout his career he can win games in March.  Including Tuesday’s win over the Rangers, Miller has a career record of 31-16-7 in the month of March.  Although his career numbers for March (3.10 GAA, .898 SV%) are above his overall career totals (2.58 GAA, .914 SV%), his outstanding record indicates an ability to make key saves at crucial times, just as he did Tuesday in New York.

Miller also seems to be peaking at the opportune time.  Over the last seven games, he has posted a 1.86 goals against average and a .944 save percentage while allowing two or fewer goals in each outing.

Another player who could have a significant impact over the next four weeks is newcomer Brad Boyes, who scored a goal in his Sabres debut on Tuesday.  Boyes has registered 64 points (30 goals, 34 assists) in 75 career games in March.  In three of his first five full NHL seasons, March was his most productive month.

The March of the Sabres continues Thursday night at Carolina, where Buffalo will have the opportunity to climb into the top eight.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82