The Sabres, coming off back-to-back games with Friday and Sunday outings ahead of them, have decided to take today off. They will return to the ice with a morning skate Friday before facing the Blues at night in HSBC Arena.
In the meantime, here are your Thursday morning papers, starting here in the B-lo, which finally succumbed to Leafs Nation:
*Owner-in-waiting Terry Pegula is expected to be approved by the NHL board of governors Friday, sources told The Buffalo News. If Pegula is in charge when the St. Louis Blues visit Friday night, fans will hope his reign starts better than B. Thomas Golisano's ownership era ended.That's because Wednesday's result certainly stung.
The Sabres allowed their NHL-worst 11th short-handed goal at the worst possible time, killing their third-period momentum and handing the Maple Leafs a 2-1 victory. It was the Sabres' first home loss to the Leafs since Dec. 12, 2008, and there was no debate about the turning point.
"The power play ended up costing us the game," said Buffalo defenseman Jordan Leopold, one of three players to make a mistake on the game-winning goal.
*Bucky Gleason writes that it's still not clear which Sabres team is going to show up on a given night. Is it the one that plodded through two periods against Tampa Bay or the freight train that showed up in the third? Is it the sloppy team that gave up seven goals to the Islanders or the resourceful one that fought back in Montreal?
Give them credit for coming back this season, but proceed with caution. Every year, teams surge late in the season only to tail off. Some continue into the playoffs, as the Flyers did last season. The Sabres could be teasing fans with greatness wedged into mediocrity. We'll see how they respond Friday, when Terry Pegula is expected to take over ownership.
*The 2-1 victory over the Sabres snapped their seven-game losing streak downtown and pulled the Leafs within six points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Leafs are 6-2-1 since the all-star break, making up eight points in the standings, and posted wins at Boston and Buffalo the last two nights.
*The Devils' 3-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes moved New Jersey within 12 points of Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
*Montreal acquired defenseman and president of the anti-Patrick Kaleta Club Paul Mara from Anaheim for a fifth-round pick today in the latest NHL trade.
*The World Champion San Francisco Giants are back in spring training to defend their title.