Sabres facing playoff elimination tonight against Rangers


Winners of three straight and six of their last 10, the Buffalo Sabres are clinging to their playoff lives.

Tonight, they’ll need a victory to keep clinging a little longer.

Buffalo faces a must-win at First Niagara Center against the equally desperate New York Rangers — if the Rangers win in regulation, the Sabres’ playoff hopes are dead.

“You want to play in these games, especially when you’re developing the kind of mentality that you need to play in this League,” head coach Ron Rolston told “You want to test your team in those situations and [Friday’s] another test [against a] high-caliber opponent in a situation where you need to be successful.”

The Sabres currently sit 10th in the Eastern Conference with 44 points, four back of New York (48 points). Buffalo has four games left in the regular season including tonight’s affair, while New York has five.

Historically speaking, getting a result against the Rangers tonight should be doable. The Sabres have collected three of four possible points against the Blueshirts this season and won the most recent matchup, 3-1, at First Niagara on Mar. 12.

After tonight’s game, though, the Sabres are facing a tall order.

They’ll head to Pittsburgh on Saturday night to take on the Penguins, then close out against two teams desperate for points in their own respective playoff chases — the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Islanders.

Of course, those games are meaningless if Buffalo doesn’t get a result tonight.

Just ask Rolston.

“We have to take care of our own destiny,” he explained. “We’ve been that way for a while, just concentrating on one game and playing our best in that game.”

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: