The Buffalo Sabres are only playing for pride at this point, but you wouldn't know it by the way they took the playoff-bound New York Rangers all the way to the 58th minute before finally falling 2-1.
The teams would alternate strong periods, with the Sabres (!) winning both the first and third in terms of shots and chances. However, the team that "lost" the second and third period in the regard would go on to be the team score in those periods. After a strong first period that saw the Corsi numbers and score dead even at zero, the Sabres had only one - one! - shot in the second period, which of course they scored on courtesy of a Drew Stafford tip-in. (Welcome back, Drew.) Despite leaving tied 1-1 after a late Benoit Pouliot goal, Buffalo's Corsi by the end of the second the second went from zero to -29.
The Sabres would come back strong in the third, limiting the Rangers to just three shots while taking 11 of their own, but as fate would have it, New York would score on one of those three shots as Rick Nash blasted a slap shot past Matt Hackett with just over 100 seconds left to seal the deal for the Rangers.
For as much as we've given him grief, Mike Weber played a very strong game last night, registering two shots, five hits, and two blocked shots to become the Sabres second-best defenseman in the possession numbers.
Hackett played his best game for the Sabres, stopping 28 of 30 Rangers shots, and kept the Sabres in the game during a second period that saw them outshot by an 18-1 margin. While he was happy with his own play, Hackett was disappointed that he couldn't get the win, saying, "There’s two more left and I want to get one. It’s been a while so no matter what, it sucks to lose, no matter how the team’s playing. I thought we played really well in the first and the third. So we showed we can play with these teams, we’ve just got to find a way to do it the whole game."
The Sabres will only get two more chances to do so, this Saturday against the Bruins and then Sunday against the Islanders, the team's Fan Appreciation Night.
1. Can Drew Stafford pick up where he left off?
Yep - Staffy scored the Sabres only goal, so I guess the entire team picked up where they left off, with only guys named Stafford or Ennis being able to score.
2. Just how many shots will the Rangers have tonight?
The Sabres were outshot by a total of 30-24, not bad considering where these teams stand in terms of shots for and shots against on the season.
3. With all the players returning from injury over the past two games, who (if anyone) will find their game the fastest?
Chris Stewart played well on a line with Cody Hodgson and Zemgus Girgensons, the Sabres best possession line.
1. Rick Nash - GWG
2. Benoit Pouliot - 1g
3. Matt Hackett - 28 saves in a strong game