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Game #73 Recap: Roll On

03/23/11
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(Roll On was originally the song of the day and title of the game preview, but the WordPress servers crapped out righteously on me so instead it’s the title of the game recap)

After the shocking collapse to the Predators on Sunday, I wrote that Tuesday’s game versus the Canadiens would tell the real story about this team. Turns out, the real story was that they would channel their rage (Lindy Ruff, Sith lord?) and shut down the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge in Montreal.

If you had to pick one player out of the lineup as a key cog in the Sabres’ surge into the playoffs, would you have picked Nathan Gerbe? The little man with the growing number of nicknames – my personal favorite is Tenacious G – has been a big-time contributor for the team and seems to be getting better. Watch the video of his empty-net goal…what you see is his desperation play at the blue line followed up by stripping PK Subban of the puck. What you don’t see are the two plays he made in the zone to force the puck to the blue line in the first place. Hardest-working ENG all season, bar none.

Myers, Sekera, and Miller all had fantastic bounce-back performances following the crapshow of a sequence that led to the Nashville GWG last weekend. It’s a testament to the team that the mental toughness is there to rebound instead of collapse further. A couple of seasons ago, that loss to the Predators would’ve sent the Sabres on a playoffs-killing downward spiral. Mind you, it might not be the necessary toughness to succeed in the playoffs, but it might be by the time the regular season concludes.

The Sabres are off until Friday at home versus the Panthers. A sweep of this weekend’s home back-to-back would be huge to the Sabres, getting them wins 3 and 4 out of 7 that coach Ruff says are a necessity.

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