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NO ORDINARY GAME

Monday, 03.26.2012 / 1:05 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / BEYOND THE BOARDS
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BEYOND THE BOARDS
NO ORDINARY GAME
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.


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