The Buffalo Sabres were fighting and scraping for a playoff spot on Friday night, with the emphasis on fighting.
In what was a laugher on the scoreboard, the Sabres improved their possibilities for post season action with a 7-1 thumping of the Carolina Hurricanes. And in this game the thumping wasn’t just confined to the scoreboard.
Carolina more or less self destructed on Friday night, making careless plays and were of no noticeable assistance to goaltender Cam Ward, who was left alone far too often to deal with the Sabre attack. The Hurricanes’ relieved him of his burden when he was pulled in before the first period was over, a point at which the Sabres were already ahead by 4 goals.
When the Hurricane’s couldn’t seem to compete on the ice, they became distracted it seemed and began to pile up the penalties, ending the game having been recorded for 20 infractions a 81 minutes of penalty box time.
The game featured a number of fights as things progressed, as the Sabres not inclined to be pushed around in their own home rink returned the favour for each invitation.
Ryan Miller’s shut out bid came to an end midway through the third when Scott Walker scored the only goal for the Hurricanes; Miller had faced 28 shots before the game was over, returning to the kind of form that the Sabres will need to move forward in the final stages of the season.
Buffalo needed the win in the worst possible way, already short a number of defenceman and still outside of the final cut of eight teams, they pulled to within two points of eighth placed Philadelphia with the win.
They can continue to put pressure on the Flyers on Saturday night when the Sabres travel to Toronto to play the Leafs. A win at the Air Canada Centre and the playoff picture begins to look bright, a loss and they’re back to where they were two nights ago, on the outside looking in.
CBC Sports--Roy, Sabres have way with Hurricanes
National Post--Roy, Mair come up big as Sabres pound Hurricanes
Buffalo News--Sabres snap out of slump with 7-1 win
London Free Press--Sabres blow out Hurricanes