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Sabres playoff hopes take big hit

Ales Kotalik scored two goals but it was his third period giveaway that was the story of the game.  With just over five minutes remaining in the game Ales Koatlik tried to make a cross ice pass in his own zone that was intercepted by Brendan Shanahan.  Shanahan took a shot that was blocked and went right on to the stick of Sean Avery who put it by Ryan Miller who was out of position on the original shot.  Buffalo was unable to convert a late power play and the Rangers held on to a 4-3 victory.

The game got a off to rough start after Patrick Kaleta put a hard hit on Rangers defenseman Paul Mara.  Mark Staal went after Kaleta and cut him above his left eye drawing a two minute penalty for roughing.  Later on in the first period Kaleta got into a scrap with the NHL's most hated player Sean Avery.  Avery was instrumental in the Rangers victory scoring the game winner and assisting on the tying goal.  Avery also had seven penalty minutes.

The game had a playoff feel right from the opening faceoff with the two teams starting the game tied with 68 points.  In the end it was the Rangers who came away with the two points and move up in the standings to sixth place while the Sabres remain tied with the Bruins in seventh place.  It was the second time in a week that the Sabres lost to the Rangers, losing 5-1 last Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Game Notes

  • Ryan Miller had 31 saves but allowed a really weak goal to Nigel Dawes in the first period
  • Ales Kotalik had two goals, which gives him four in his last two games but it was his third period giveaway that was the story
  • Thomas Vanek was held scoreless and was foiled on a third period breakaway
  • Lindy Ruff was visibly upset in his post game press conference and I'm sure the players are going to hear it the next two days
  • The Sabres power play looked lost all night, an area that I thought was doing well before tonights game