On Final Four night, we're down to the Sabres' final four games. The Sabres are hopeful they can win them all and put pressure on the Rangers and Florida.
"We've got a real good shot," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We take care of our business, we know we've got a tough week, it force the other teams to win all their games. In all likelihood, it probably won't happen, so the shot is still real good, but we've got to start by winning tonight.
"We took a day of rest yesterday to get as much energy in our game as we can for tonight, and I think we're ready."
7:10 p.m.: Game on.
7:12 p.m.: There's concern in some Red Wings circles that they don't have good enough goaltending to win the Cup for the second straight year, but Chris Osgood just made an unreal glove save on Adam Mair just 1:52 into the game.
7:15 p.m.: The Red Wings are usually worth the price of admission, but the Sabres are taking their best shot early as they open with a 6-0 advantage.
One thing notable about the lines: Thomas Vanek is on the fourth with Dominic Moore and Maxim Afinogenov. Jochen Hecht is with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford.
7:27 p.m.: First power play of the game goes to Buffalo, as Marian Hossa trips Derek Roy with 8:59 left.
7:32 p.m.: Osgood holding up his end of the bargain as the Sabres have a 13-5 edge in shots but no goals with 6:12 left.
7:40 p.m.: Ryan Miller answers Osgood by making stop on Johan Franzen at the top of the crease with two minutes left. Franzen then gets cut by high stick from Chris Butler, but no call.
7:44 p.m.: End of period, no score. Sabres hold 14-9 shot advantage.
8:06 p.m.: Tough night for Franzen, who crashes hard into the boards on bump by Daniel Paille, who's back in lineup after two-game benching. He's taking the place of injured Patrick Kaleta.
8:09 p.m.: Still no score with 13:46 left. Sabres have 15-14 shot lead against a team that almost always leads in shots.
8:14 p.m.: Chris Chelios to the box for tripping. He's been around so long that I remember seeing him in Jim Kelly's "Network" bar back when I was a college kid. He was with Jeremy Roenick (they played for Chicago then) and good times were had by all.
8:17 p.m.: Jaroslav Spacek hooks Tomas Holmstrom, who apparently took a dive, according to the ref. Penalties for both with 8:50 left. John Wawrow of the Associated Press wants you know that Adam Mair is having a quality game. I agree.
8:25 p.m.: Still no score with 5:09 left. I miss Network now that I mentioned it. They used to have $1 drinks on Thursday nights, and they had a Sabres ticket special that included two drinks and a buffet for either $12 or $17. I can't remember which. Too many dollar drinks clouding the mind.
8:44 p.m.: It's 1-0 after two periods as Brad Stuart scores on power play with 1:19 left. Teams had a dust-up with 59.6 seconds to go after Chris Butler takes exception to Valtteri Filppula's hit on Clarke MacArthur. Nicklas Lidstrom drops Derek Roy with one gloved punch, while Drew Stafford and Jonathan Ericsson shed theirs to go at it.
Red Wings are 33-1-5 when leading after two.
8:59 p.m.: Marian Hossa makes it 2-0 just 36 seconds in.
9:06 p.m.: Seasonlong trend of missing open-net chances as Thomas Vanek's pass to Jason Pominville at the side of the net is just off the mark, forcing Pominville's shot to be off the mark.
9:08 p.m.: Red Wings return the favor as Brett Lebda sends his shot over the wide-open net with 15:08 to go.
9:14 p.m.: Just 10:43 left, and it's all over. Hossa scores his second on pass from Pavel Datsyuk.
9:16 p.m.: It's still over, but it's closer. Paul Gaustad scores with 10:06 to go. It's 3-1.
9:24 p.m.: So in basic terms, either Florida or the Rangers need just three points in the final three games to eliminate the Sabres. There's 4:56 left.
9:31 p.m.: An octopus crashes to the ice with 1:46 to go.
9:34 p.m.: Nicklas Lidstrom scores into open net to make it a 4-1 final. Say goodnight.