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Sabres keep slim hopes alive while Ryan Miller sets franchise record

Apr 5, 2013, 10:31 PM EDT

millerandsabresgetty Getty Images

Things have been grim for the Buffalo Sabres lately – just ask Steve Ott – but Friday brought up what seemed like an unthinkable question: can they make a run for the playoffs?

Buffalo kept its shaky postseason hopes alive with a 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators while Ryan Miller made history.

Miller, 32, passed Dominik Hasek for first all-time in Sabres history for saves, finishing the night with 35 stops to push his franchise (and career) total to 13,332. Sabres PR guy Ian Ott points out that his mark gives him the sixth-most saves for a goalie with a single franchise.

Moving back to more immediate numbers, the Sabres are now four points out of eighth place with 36 points. There are plenty of good news/bad news bits:

  • Sure, they’re four points away, but three other teams are closer to the eighth-ranked New York Islanders (40 points).
  • Sports Club Stats still only gives them a 5.5 percent shot.
  • On the other hand, the Sabres play seven of their final 10 games at home. That could boost their numbers considerably (their outlook improved by 2.6 percent tonight, for instance).

In the grand scheme of things, all those numbers can be a little dizzying. Sports Club Stats also gives teams a benchmark to shoot for, record-wise:

7-0-3 finish: 81.9 percent chance
8-2-0 finish: 66.1 percent chance
7-1-2 finish: 59.4 percent chance
6-0-4 finish: 53.0 percent chance

Things fall off the map quickly once you get into 7-2-1 territory (33.7 percent chance), though, so Buffalo would need to be close-to-perfect to make it happen.

Then again, many probably didn’t expect Miller to break one of Hasek’s club records when he began his days as Buffalo’s No. 1 either, so you never know.

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