SABRES-FLYERS MORNING SKATE UPDATE
Friday, 04.8.2011 / 1:00 PM ET
The Sabres will play their 41st and final home game of the regular season tonight needing to gain just one point to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Standing in the way are the Philadelphia Flyers.
I would anticipate everything about this game to have a playoff-type atmosphere and energy and emotion that comes with playing those types of games." - Lindy Ruff on tonight's game vs. Philadelphia“I would anticipate everything about this game to have a playoff-type atmosphere and energy and emotion that comes with playing those types of games,” said Head Coach Lindy Ruff. “It’s a great day, it’s a great day for the alumni. For us, it’s game day as usual.”
The opportunity to secure a spot in the postseason is the result of an impressive turnaround for the Sabres. After a 3-9-2 start to the season, as well as an 0-6-1 start on home ice, Buffalo turned in a remarkable effort to climb back into playoff contention. Since Dec. 28, when the team was 14-18-4, they have gone 27-11-6.
“It’s been great considering the way that we started the year,” said Drew Stafford. “There might be a lot of people that might have doubted us considering the start we had. It’s pretty cool to see that really none of that matters now. We’ve been in the driver’s seat for a while now controlling where we end up, so it’s just a matter of finishing strong.”
Ryan Miller, who has missed the last four games with an upper body injury, participated in the morning skate, but Ruff would give no indication as to whether Miller or Jhonas Enroth would start in goal for tonight’s showdown with the Flyers.
While Miller has been sidelined, Enroth has performed more than capably between the pipes, leading the Sabres to a 3-0-1 record while posting a 1.96 goals against average and a .932 save percentage.
Patrick Kaleta has been cleared by the medical staff to return to game action after missing the last 15 games with a bone bruise in his leg, but Ruff declined to say whether Kaleta would play tonight or not.
Below is the Sabres’ clinching scenario entering play tonight, per the NHL:
The #7 Buffalo Sabres would clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth...
* if they get at least one point against the Philadelphia Flyers
* if the Carolina Hurricanes lose to the Atlanta Thrashers in regulation, overtime or