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Sabres’ weird win might be a metaphor for their season

Apr 3, 2012, 10:20 PM EDT

Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

If you’re the type of person who analogizes things constantly like me, the Buffalo Sabres’ comeback-filled 6-5 OT win against the Toronto Maple Leafs wasn’t shocking. Instead, it was really a microcosm of both teams’ seasons.

Toronto opened the game with a stunning 3-0 lead, much like they raced off out of the gates with a high-powered offense. Even Phil Kessel stuck to the script, supplying assists on all of those tallies.

Sabres fight back

Much like during this season’s rougher moments, the Buffalo Sabres could have thrown in the towel with that big deficit in mind – not to mention an endless deluge of Internet snark building – but they refused to do so. That being said, they sure didn’t make it look easy … unless you think they really have a flair for the dramatic.

Buffalo dominated the second period 2-0 with a 19-6 shot advantage. Things could have fallen apart two more times in the third period, too. Clarke MacArthur made it 4-2 just a minute and a half in but Derek Roy collected a power-play tally to give Buffalo hope. Jake Gardiner then seemingly put things out of reach by skating around the Buffalo defense and made it 5-3, but it shockingly wasn’t over.

One more comeback

Alexander Suzler scored his second goal of the game to make it 5-4 about 15 minutes into that manic final frame, yet the tying goal might have been the most symbolic moment.

As PHT’s Joe Yerdon points out, the scramble in front of Toronto’s net that resulted in the 5-5 Jordan Leopold tally in many ways tells the story of the Leafs’ lost season. In a way, it tells Buffalo’s story too – they keep coming back and finding ways to win, even if it’s nowhere near as pretty as anyone expected.

It’s pretty hard to deny the beauty of a wild Buffalo crowd after Roy scored the overtime power play game-winner, though. That’s a moment that was a beauty for any hockey fans without a horse in this increasingly crazy race.

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Standings update

For now, let’s ignore the Florida Panthers’ place in the eighth place mess, even after they coughed up an embarrassing 5-4 OT loss to the Winnipeg Jets tonight. Here’s what the race between Washington and Buffalo looks like after the Sabres’ surge:

8. Washington: 88 points, 36 regulation/OT wins and two games left – vs. Florida (Thursday) and at Rangers (Saturday)
9. Buffalo: 88 points, 32 regulation/OT wins and two games left – at Philadelphia (Thursday), at Boston (Saturday)

As you can see, the Capitals hold the tiebreaker advantage so the Sabres need to finish with one more point to take the eighth seed. The nice thing about Thursday’s Panthers-Capitals game is that Florida has incentive to at least fight for a win since the Southeast title hasn’t been clinched yet. On the other hand, the Rangers have even less on the line than the Flyers and Bruins, so Buffalo’s best chance to “control its destiny” is if Washington finishes with a point or less on Thursday.

It all sets up for a stretch run that should be as dramatic and ridiculous as every day-to-day development so far.

That being said, it might be hard to top tonight’s theatrics.

  1. tilllman40 - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Roy has herpes fact

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Obviously I wish it was the Leafs battling for a playoff spot but this was a thriller, just an awesome game to watch.

  3. tarotsujimoto74 - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    I still cannot believe that they let the play continue on that 5th goal. Thankfully, the ref was right on top of the play and was able to keep his eyes on the puck.

  4. billsin20xx - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    It’s too bad though even if the Sabre’s make the playoffs without Myers and Errhof they aren’t going anywhere.
    The other bad thing is every year Ruff manages to get his teams playing good in Feb and Mar saving his job each year. When is somebody going to realize that, and question why they can’t play good all year and do something in the playoffs?

  5. jason9696 - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    That was a crazy game to watch. Of course the Leafs blew another big lead tonight. It just amazes me how many games they have blown this year after leading by a few goals.

    I have no idea how Buffalo’s 4th goal wound up in the net. It looked like a rugby scrum to say the least.

    The Sabres have really came back from the dead. But I’m still pulling for the Caps to get the 8th seed.

    • jason9696 - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:02 PM

      Buffalo’s 5th goal I meant*

  6. trbowman - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Boy, Leafs are terrible.

    A lot of people including me counted this team out!

  7. SydH - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Reblogged this on Sabreland | Buffalo Sabres News, Commentary and Opinion and commented:
    PHT’s view of the comeback win over the Leafs tonight. Definitely agree with a lot that was said in it. Take a look.

  8. hockeyhome - Apr 4, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Florida’s loss in OT was embarrassing? Really? The Jets have been surprisingly good this season (certainly better than the Leafs) and they beat the Sabres 3 of the 4 meetings. Florida also lost in OT which could well have been the outcome for the Sabres this evening, had that ref blown his whistle w/that scrum all over and on top of Scrivens (who faced nearly 2x the shots as miller), or Phaneuf not pulled that penalty- the Sabres would have been the team that had Another “embarrassing” loss to the Leafs. Buffalo and the Sabres have a lot of heart, no doubt, but tonight luck was on their side (maybe those Buffalo fans brought it with them) :-)

    It will make for a very suspenseful march to the finish line. (which personally, is killing me!)

  9. kantnockdahustle89 - Apr 4, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    That was one strange game. Sabres got 5 straight PPs to end the game (Phaneuf was an easy call in OT) and then got one of the only times Ive seen the refs swallow the whistle when the puck is lost for an extended period of time. How many times this season did we see quick whistle after quick whistle in the crease?

    And…is this really surprising? Some guy named Schrivens was in net for the Leafs? Who is that?

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