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The Sabres continue to surprise us. This team has been very streaky in 2007-2008, and thought replete with talent, they seem to lose to teams they should not lose to.
Partially that is due to an amazing season of equality in the NHL. Every team can beat any other team on any night. Pretty amazing. There are 6-7 teams fighting for the final few playoff spots in each conference, separated by only a handful of points. Pretty spectacular for the fans, for the most part.
But also very frustrating.
Wednesday night the Sabres were hosting the last place Tampa Bay Lightning, very much needing to win due to the teams closest to them in the standings winning the night before. Seemed a perfect opportunity, being on a bit of a winning streak, and playing at home against a seemingly easy opponent. But don’t forget what I said above. This season, every team in the league can beat any other team on any night. The Lightning apparently knew that.
Leading 2-1 after one period, and 4-1 after two (with the Sabres mustering only 2 shots in the second period) the Lightning seemed in complete control, and Sabres’ fans booed their team off the ice into the intermission.
Perhaps that had the desired affect. In the third period, the Sabres looked like the team they really are capable of being (super-talented, high-scoring, fast, aggressive, fun-to-watch, young team) and posted their second and third goals within 16 seconds of each other, then once they tied it, didn’t stop till they tallied six altogether in the third period! Thomas Vanek even had a natural hat trick, scoring the tying goal, the go-ahead goal, and the clincher! Fantastic.
Tonight (Friday) the Sabres host the Toronto Maple Leafs who are closer in the standings to the Sabres, but whom the Sabres have recently had a pretty easy time with. This is a game the Sabres should win, and need to win. Two points are a must.
After the second period Wednesday it seemed the team had given up, and with only 8 games to go, it seemed time for me to face the non-playoff reality. BUT, after that third period… perhaps we are seeing the final streak for our boys in Blue and Gold? A good streak in the final eight games could conceivably get them as high as sixth place. That would pit them against the Southeast division champ (likely Carolina) whom the Sabres have had a pretty good time with this year!
They’re still sitting in a very precarious 9th place for the time being, but this team has a good chance to land a playoff spot, as long as they can be the team that we saw in that third period last night.
Here’s hoping they’ve got one more good streak in them this year! 🙂