RALEIGH, N.C. -- Another do-or-die game in Carolina, another rare appearance by Nathan Paetsch. The Sabres hope this one goes better than the last one.
Paetsch made his first NHL playoff appearance during Game Seven of the 2006 Eastern Conference finals after Jay McKee suffered an infection in his leg. Tonight, Paetsch will play his first game since Feb. 11 because forward Maxim Afinogenov is ill. Paetsch, normally a defenseman, is eager to get back on the ice no matter what position.
"It's obviously a different game up there," he said when the Sabres arrived at RBC Center. "For me it means doing what I always do, just working as hard as I possibly can. Maybe I don't have as much finesse as some guys up there, so I'm just going to outwork everybody that's on the ice. The guy across from me, there's not a chance he's going to outwork me, I'll promise you that."
The Sabres lost Paetsch's first playoff game. They need to win tonight and hope the Rangers fail to get a point against Philadelphia, or their playoff hopes are done.
"We need a little more magic than then," coach Lindy Ruff said. "We'll have to go after it. There's going to be tough situations in the game that you're going to have to respond to."
7:05 p.m.: The RBC Center is rocking, as you might expect for a team that's won 12 straight in this building.
7:07 p.m.: By the way it was 71 degrees here. I know it was OK in Buffalo, but 71 is pretty good. Game on.
7:12 p.m.: I'm surprised how loud it is since it's half empty here.
7:15 p.m.: A good chunk of Sabres fans, too, judging by their cheers for the opening goal. Jaroslav Spacek, playing in his 700th game (Cheap Plug Alert: See Friday's Notebook for an exclusive look at his thoughts on the future), sends a long pass to Tim Connolly. The center sets up Jason Pominville, who goes high over Cam Ward with 14:26 left.
7:22 p.m.: Sabres get first power play when Chad LaRose interferes with Ryan Miller with 11:46 left.
7:23 p.m.: No shots.
7:30 p.m.: The Rangers have a 1-0 lead over the Flyers with 8:20 left in the first.
7:37 p.m.: Ryan Miller looks good in goal, stopping all nine shots so far, but the out-of-town scoreboard doesn't look good for Buffalo. It's 2-0 Rangers with 4:37 left in the first.
7:39 p.m.: End of one, it's 1-0 Buffalo. Carolina holds an 11-6 shot edge. But if things stay the same in Madison Square Garden, this game is meaningless.
7:57 p.m.: We're back with what could be the final 40 minutes that remotely matter for the Sabres.
8:01 p.m.: Sabres are doing their part (today) as Matt Ellis makes it 2-0 with 16:45 to go.
8:06 p.m.: The Sabres are giddy as Jochen Hecht makes it 3-0 with 13:44 left. It was a nice play by Paille, who threw his body into a check for one of the few times since the opening week of the season. They apparently don't know the Rangers are winning. The folks in the RBC Center have kept the pranks to a minimum so far.
8:09 p.m.: The chant starts in Section 328: "Book your tee time!"
8:13 p.m.: A standing ovation for Cam Ward, who gets pulled in his 28th straight start. Tim Connolly wins a faceoff and feeds Jason Pominville for a tap-in with 9:47 left. In the crease for Carolina is Michael Leighton, who had a cup of coffee with the Sabres.
8:17 p.m.: For the second straight game in Carolina, the Hurricanes get upset when someone hits captain Rod Brind'Amour (hint, Rod: Pick your head up!). Paille flattens him and Joe Corvo goes after Paille with 8:30 left.
Pominville's goal, by the way, was his 20th.
8:22 p.m.: Flyers climb to within 2-1 with 9:52 left in the second.
8:31 p.m.: Attendance was just announced at 18,513. I hear the Easter bunny is coming, too.
8:32 p.m.: End of two, and it's 4-0 Sabres. If they had done all these things throughout the season, they wouldn't be in this predicament.
8:44 p.m.: It's the second intermission in New York, where the Rangers still have a 2-1 lead. Flyers have a 28-21 shot edge.
8:49 p.m.: The teams are back. As for the playoffs?
9:01 p.m.: It's 5-0 in Raleigh with 10:21 left as Derek Roy scores on a penalty shot while Sabres are short-handed. Third period just under way in New York. Not good for a writer to have to wait for the other game.
Canes fans start "Let's go, Rangers" chant.
9:11 p.m.: It's still 5-0 with 5:31 left. Rangers are up, 2-1, with 11:41 to go.
9:15 p.m.: Flyers have a 36-23 edge in shots but still trail with 10:52 to go.
9:18 p.m.: Miller's shutout intact as Whitney hits goalie with shot rather than open net. Under 10 minutes to go in New York, just 1:35 left in Raleigh.
9:21 p.m.: Eric Staal's power-play goal with 27.1 seconds left end Miller's shutout bid. That's it from here. Going downstairs to get the interviews and check the rest of the Rangers game.
9:49 p.m.: The Rangers eliminate the Flyers, and the keyword in the Sabres' room was "frustrating." They've seen they can play great nights like tonight, but they know they didn't do it enough. They'll have the spring and summer to think about it.