The Buffalo Sabres, with two games left in their season, know that they need to win out in order to have a shot at making the playoffs. And they also know that just winning out won't earn them a spot; they have to hope the Washington Capitals slip up in one of their two final games in order to grab the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Capitals own the first tiebreaker, regulation and overtime wins, and play a Florida Panthers team tonight needing just a point to clinch the Southeast Division, and then finish up with the New York Rangers on Saturday. Buffalo visits Philadelphia tonight and Boston on Saturday afternoon.
The Sabres' stirring comeback against Toronto on Tuesday gave them a lifeline. And as important as tonight's game is for the Sabres, Head Coach Lindy Ruff hopes the emotions and adrenaline are kept in check.
From the Buffalo News:
"You've got to have a relaxed sense," the coach said in Wells Fargo Center. "You can't get uptight going into the game. You've got to be able to relax, and you've got to be able to focus all your energy on the shift that you're on.
"I think sometimes you get too jacked up, 'I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that,' and you're not breathing, you're not relaxed, you can't play. There's a fine line there. You've got to be able to put your energy in the right place and get yourself ready to play that shift at a really high level."
A happy end to the regular season for the Sabres might be a bit sobered by the unknown future for Tyler Myers. The 6-foot-8 blueliner took a shot off of his foot last Friday against Pittsburgh and will miss the rest of the regular season. Beyond that? Ruff would only respond with "What round?" when asked when Myers might return.
Guess it's only the Capitals giving guarantees this week.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
- Buffalo Sabres
- Washington Capitals