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A Crucial Tilt Against The Bruins

Things are looking up, as the Sabres have gone 3-0-1 in their last 4 games, snagging 7 out of a possible 8 points – even without The Mighty Vanek. Now they’re “just” 10 points back in the Eastern Conference.

In other good news, Channel 2 even got to air an MSG game. Is this a harbinger that things have taken a change for the better?

As ScottyMCSS once said, “Healthy changes everything”. And now you’ll never see those Blue Cross/Blue Shield commercials without thinking of him and the rest of us here at BSN. Well, hopefully at least, if the subliminal code I’ve embedded in this website works as planned. </diabolical laughter>

The Sabres are pretty healthy (minus a few scratches) except for the big name of Thomas Vanek, but with the recent points the Sabres are earning, it’s hard not to be at least a little optimistic. Maybe Vanek was the problem?

When you quit chortling, I *was* being sarcastic.

Just like Madonna, The Sabres are making a comeback and looking pretty good doing it.

But hold your horses there, Charlie, as the Boston Bruins are rolling into town on Wednesday. Do I really need to recap our recent history with Boston? In short, The Lucic Incident? (It’s sort of like the String Cheese Incident.) The Sabres spiraled out of control after that game. Blame injuries if you want but that game was a turning point.

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Seems to me that string cheese would never be an "incident" but cause for jubilation and mirth. Tasty, binding mirth.

The recent good vibes we’ve been feeling as of late could come to a crashing halt if the Sabres get destroyed by the Bruins again. And yes, I know that the Sabres took the Bruins to overtime the last time they played, but this is a huge game.

With a win, we the fanbase keep smiling and should get our F8 finger ready to refresh the NHL.com standings page several times a day come late February/March.

With a loss, we’re left reeling and back to being the Bruins’ punching bags. Read: bitch.

With 4 more games left against Boston including the tilt on Wednesday, the Buffalo Sabres have a total of 8 points at stake against them. If we can’t beat a physical team like the Bruins, we may be up the creek without a paddle this year. All hope will be lost. Throw in the towel. Give up the ghost. Insert other euphemism here.

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Let's hope we don't have to wave the white flag. Nothing funny here, just had to toss one more euphemism out there.

I’m not saying the entire season hangs in the balance on Wednesday night but… well, I guess that really is what I’m trying to say.

But maybe I’m just hopped up on green tea and overly prone to worry. Agree/disagree? Is the season lost with a loss to the B’s?

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The Most Crucial Road Trip Of The Year For The Sabres

If this was a story, the Sabres would be at a critical turning point. Could this be the darkest hour for the Sabres, when it looks like things are at their worst?

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Click to embiggen the standings... if you can stomach it.

The Sabres are 7 points back in the Eastern Conference now, in the 11th spot. And just when you think the Sabres are getting healthy, they take some more hits. Vanek took a puck to the jaw requiring him to finish the Islanders game with a full cage. He should still play, but it’s scary. Regehr is likely out for the next four games and Leopold has been battling the flu. Almost as a symbol of the dark times, we also have the MSG/Time Warner cable dispute.

The calls for the Sabres to make drastic changes are getting louder and louder and from more and more sources. The hashtag #darcydosomething has become a very popular tag recently.

The Sabres front office has maintained a calm demeanor and insisted that nothing drastic should be done or will be done. Terry Pegula has reiterated that it’s all about injuries and that the Sabres can’t really even move anyone until they get back to some semblence of health. From The Buffalo News:

“What everybody is missing is that I’ve been carrying around 167 man games,” he said by telephone Thursday evening. “Forget about the season. I’m talking about the last 25 games. We’ve had 18 players go down. It’s like a merry-go-round every night. You look on the ice and what are your defensive pairs tonight? Hell, who knows? Who’s healthy?

“My attitude now is, ‘Let’s put Humpty [Dumpty] back together again,’ ” Pegula said. “I want our players to know that I thought we had a pretty good hockey team until all this happened. Let’s paste it back together and start a new season.”

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Forever more Humpy Dumpty and Terry Pegula will be linked in my mind. Pegula is the King and it will take all of his horses to get this team back in the playoff mix.

This was before Friday night’s Maple Leafs game win and the loss against the New York Islanders. The team came out guns blazing against Toronto but not quite as energetic against the Islanders. As a start to a new season within a season, it’s not wholly inspiring. (Of course, blaming injuries for the losses is starting to get old for fans.)

Next on the agenda is a 5-game road trip that ends before the NHL All-Star break, kicked off by a game against the always tough Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings are 7-3 in their last 10 and looking for a record 15th consecutive home win. Not to mention the Wings are 18-2-1 against the Sabres in their last 22 games AND 10-0-1 in their last 11 games. Oy.

This 5-game road trip will be crucial to the start of the Sabres “new season” and hopes of getting back into the playoff mix. With games against the Red Wings, Chicago, Winnipeg, St. Louis and New Jersey, it won’t be a cakewalk. Each of those teams is 6th or better in their respective conference except for Winnipeg who sits at 10th in the East (just above our Sabres). The Sabres have their work cut out for them.

Will the Sabres dig themselves a hole they can’t get out of or will they get back in the race? We’ll start to find out tonight.

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