Sabres vs. Rangers Recap: Buffalo Eliminated From Playoff Hunt With Embarassing Loss To Rangers

USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres self-destructed in their most important game of the season, and were officially eliminated from playoff contention tonight by the Rangers.

Sabres Implode In Record Time

Both teams seemed ready to head in to the first intermission tied 0-0, but just 2:58 of game time later the Rangers found themselves on top 5-0. That's right, the Sabres allowed five goals in less than three game minutes, and the Rangers would tack on another later in the second to go up 6-0 at one point en route to their 8-4 win. Here's the crazy sequence:

The first two goals went off of a Sabres defenseman's skate, then the crowd heckled Miller with a Bronx cheer and he promptly whiffed on a pass that went right to Ryan Clowe for goal number three, though he later said the mock cheer didn't rattle him. A weak fourth goal led to Miller getting pulled...followed by Jhonas Enroth promptly giving up a goal on his first shot faced. Another weak wrister slipped past him later in the period for goal number six, and by that point it was all over but the crying.

Faceoffs Don't Matter - Possession Does

The simplest theory in hockey is: you can't score if you don't have the puck. If you reverse that, you could say that you're more likely to score the more you have the puck. Many of the Sabres goals tonight simply came from the law of posession. Goals against that go off skates only happen because your team doesn't have the puck. Tired players that miss coverages are caused by long defensive shifts in their own zone.

Yes, faceoffs are one way to gain possession, but the Sabres were winning the faceoff battle through two periods, yet got absolutely dominated for the first thirty minutes in terms of possession. The more you maintain possession, the more shots you get, the more luck you create, and the fewer chances your opponents have. This team has been piss-poor at possessing the puck all year, and it's one of the biggest reasons why they are where they are.

Playoffs-Be-Gone

With the regulation loss tonight, the Sabres are now officially eliminated from playoff contention, and we can all stop worrying about it. My advice for the next three games? Take a look at the young kids - Pysyk, Flynn, Porter, Ruhwedel, etc - because they'll almost all be part of next year's team.

DBTB Three Stars

1. Brad Richards - hat trick
2. Ryane Clowe - the dagger goal at the end of the first
3. Dan Girardi - six blocked shots

Post Game Quotes

"I'd love to have what happened after that. Just sayin'. Doesn't mean I want to leave, if that's what you're getting at. The guy won two Stanley Cups after, so...hey, why not?"
- Ryan Miller, when asked about how this game compared to Patrick Roy's last game in Montreal.

"Of course it's disconcerting, what kind of question is that? Of course, what do you think I'm not concerned about it? Of course it's disconcerting. You ask that every press conference, are you disconcer - absolutely I am. We lost a game that we needed to win."
- Ron Rolston, sparring with TBN's Mike Harrington

Audio

Thomas Vanek, 4-19-13

Ryan Miller, 4-19-13

Ron Rolston, 4-19-13

Comment of the Game

I guess all those suggestions about pulling the goalie in a tie game were pretty moot, eh?
- kallinin

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