NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Race: What Needs To Happen for the Buffalo Sabres

December 10th, 2010 by Michael Reiser Leave a reply »
If the season ended today, the greatest fear of any Buffalo Sabres fan holds true: the Sabres would be out of the playoffs. They currently sit in third place in the Northeast Division and ninth place in the Eastern Conference, five points behind the Atlanta Thrashers for eighth. Obviously, this is a problem that isn't going to fix itself.

So, in order to make the playoffs, what needs to happen?

First of all, Ryan Miller needs to regain his Vezina-winner status for the Sabres to have any kind of success. After a slow start and a groin injury, Miller is showing signs of last year's form.

In the past three games, he has allowed three goals and stopped 84 of 87 shots. Before yesterday's game against the Sharks, he has climbed into the top 10 in both GAA and Save percentage (seventh in both categories).

Sabres commentator Mike Robitaille made a very insightful comment when Miller came back from his groin injury a few weeks ago: as a whole, the Sabres simply play better when Miller is in net. The team plays more confidently knowing that if they make a mistake or costly turnover, a goal is not imminent, allowing more room for error.


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