Thursday, March 18, 2004

Fighting for a playoff spot

The Sabres spent St. Patrick's Day in Atlanta, acting like the Battlin' Donnelly's. Fighting their way through three periods of hockey and 125 minutes in penalties, on their way to a 4-3 win over Atlanta. The win pulls Buffalo to within four points of the New York Islanders who give every indication of wanting to welcome the Sabres to the eighth and final playoff position.

Buffalo's Daniel Briere was knocked out of the game in the third period, when an elbow from Thrasher Andy Sutton sent him to the dressing room with a possible concussion. Briere uttered the R word after the game, Respect or lack of it. A little over a week after the Bertuzzi incident, there is no let down in the physical nature of the games. The two teams combined for many melees on the ice starting early in the first period and continuing to the mid point of the third. Buffalo tough guy Andrew Peters squared off with many of the Atlanta enforcers, the most discussed of the battles tonight between Peters and Thrasher Francis Lessard, which featured Lessard pummelling the back of the neck of a covering up Peters. The power play that followed totaled seven minutes and gave the Sabres one goal, on their way back to win the game in Overtime. Expect to hear more of the fisticuffs from the league office after Sherrif Campbell reviews all the pertinent video evidence.

Derek Roy netted the winning goal and brought to an end Fight Club, on a fluke play fifteen seconds into the overtime frame. The fourth game in a row that has required extra time for a result to be listed. The Sabres continue their tour of the Southwest with a game against Tampa Bay on Thursday night, Saturday they head for Miami then get three nights off before playing Montreal at home next Wednesday. The Islanders entertain the Wild, Lightning and Capitals in the same period of time. Buffalo needs some help from the weaker teams as they try to make up some ground on the Islanders in the dash for the last playoff spot.

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