Sabres Eliminated From Playoff Hunt
The Buffalo Sabres 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night combined with Washington’s 4-2 victory over Florida put an end to the Sabres’ playoff hopes. The Sabres had rallied from 15th place in the Eastern Conference in the middle of February to take over the final playoff spot with last week’s impressive 5-1 win over the Capitals in Washington. Then with their playoff future in their own hands the Sabres lost back to back games to the Penguins and Leafs to put them back into a hole again.
In the game against the Flyers Ville Leino put the Sabres on the board first with a second period goal against his former team and the Sabres entered the third period with a 1-0 lead. But the Flyers scored twice in the third to win it. It’s the first time this season the Sabres lost a game in regulation after entering the third period with a lead. Wouldn’t that figure?
Saturday the Sabres close out the season with a meaningless game against the Boston Bruins. Maybe it’s fitting the Sabres close the season in the same building where all their troubles began. It was back in November when Milan Lucic took a run at Ryan Miller and knocked him to the ice while the rest of the Sabres did nothing. Miller spent the next couple of weeks out of the lineup with a concussion and even when he returned he just wasn’t the same. He didn’t regain his form until February. But that incident in Boston said a lot about the make-up of the Sabres – a bunch of guys unwilling to stand up for their teammate had a negative effect and ultimately cost them a playoff spot.
So it’ll be another summer of trying to put the right pieces together to build a Stanley Cup winner. But you can’t win the Cup if you don’t even make the playoffs. The expectations of the fans and the owner are much, much higher than what this team produced this year.