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'WE'VE GOTTA WIN A GAME TONIGHT"

Thursday, 04.05.2012 / 12:00 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE

It’s another must-win game for the Sabres tonight as they venture into the raucous environment that is Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. Buffalo hit rock bottom in their last trip here on February 16, dropping a 7-2 decision after silencing the crowd with a 2-0 first period lead. They finished the night in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, and were 10 points out of a playoff spot. Since then they’ve gone 15-4-4, and are now tied in points with Washington for the eighth spot – but the Capitals own the tiebreaker. For those of you that can multi-task, Washington hosts Florida tonight in a game that also starts at 7 p.m. 

LINEUP NEWS
- Optional morning skate today; 18 skaters and Jhonas Enroth took part.
- Ryan Miller will start his 13th straight game.
- Miller’s all-time record vs. PHIL: 12-9-2, 3.20 GAA & .897 save%.
- Jason Pominville leads all Sabres with 24 pts (11+13) in 25 career games vs. PHIL.

WHAT THEY WERE SAYING TODAY
Lindy Ruff (listen to the full audio)
Do you think the guys are still jacked up after Tuesday’s big win over Toronto?
I think you need a certain amount of focus. You’ve gotta put that game behind you. We had a good practice yesterday. We’re dealing with the Flyers now, and we know that it’s a different animal. That game is a long way behind you. Need to focus all your energy on now we’re going to play against the Flyers tonight.

What is your approach to getting the players going tonight with so much at stake?
Well I think it’s really almost at a time where you don’t have to say too much. Everybody should understand, I think the players all understand. I shouldn’t have to talk to them and say ‘Hey, we’ve gotta win a game tonight.’ We know that. We’ve said that for two months – we’ve gotta win a game. We’ve been stuck in that spot for a long time. Yesterday’s practice was about trying to get better. After 80 games we’re still trying to get better, and that’s the goal.

How was your power play able to generate three goals against Toronto?
I thought we made quicker plays. On Derek’s shot, Vanek had great net front (presence). When the goaltender can’t see it, it’s gonna go in. On every one, even the four-on-three goal, it was a little bit of just trying to get pucks. We tried to set up the one timers. After that, it was try to find a break, try to find a seam, get the puck to the net. We finally got the break late on the four-on-three.



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

Buffalo – 9th place (88 pts., 39-31-10; ROW-32)
Games Remaining: 2
Next Game: Tonight @ PHIL
Away Games: 2 (PHIL-tonight, 7 p.m.; BOS-Sat, 4 p.m.)



TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at FLYERS

-Fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Flyers this season.
-Last meeting: Philadelphia defeated Buffalo, 7-2, in Philadelphia on Feb. 16.
-The Sabres are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Flyers; 5-5-0 on the road.
-This is the 157th game all-time between Buffalo and Philadelphia; Buffalo trails the series with a 61-73-23 record. Buffalo is 23-44-13 on the road against the Flyers all-time.

STORYLINES
- April is Buffalo’s best regular season month since the lockout, with a combined record of 23-10-2 (.686) in 35 games. The Sabres went 4-0-1 in April to finish the 2010-11 season.
- The Sabres will look to avoid their fifth ever season sweep at the hands of the Flyers (last: 2008-09).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Buffalo is 31-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 30-6-4 when scoring three or more… Thomas Vanek has nine points (3+6) in his last eight games… The Sabres rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat Toronto, 6-5, in overtime on Tuesday… Tyler Ennis is on a career-best three-game goal scoring streak.

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