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Sabres lose but don't lose ground in playoff race; third period continues to be a struggle

BOS -- Good (early) morning from the Boston airport. The Sabres are already in Ottawa as losers of two of three, but they will wake up in essentially the same playoff predicament they found themselves in Thursday morning.

The Sabres remain two points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings, though they now trail Washington for the final postseason spot instead of Winnipeg. The Capitals beat Tampa Bay in overtime and the Jets lost in Vancouver on a busy Thursday night.

With 14 games left, the Sabres not only need to catch the teams they are chasing, they need to finish the season ahead of them. Buffalo lags well behind in the first tiebreaker -- regulation and overtime wins -- so merely pulling even will not get them into the playoffs.

The Sabres are scheduled to skate at noon in Ottawa. Part of their focus should be performing better in crunch time. They entered the third period tied, 1-1, against both Winnipeg and Boston this week, but they lost both games, 3-1. The Sabres are tied for the third-fewest goals in the NHL during third periods.

Corey Tropp, meanwhile, continues to show he deserves to be an NHL regular. The rookie led the Sabres with four blocked shots during the 3-1 loss to the Bruins and added two hits and one shot in 13:16 of ice time.

---John Vogl

Lindy Ruff

Jason Pominville

Jhonas Enroth

Tyler Myers

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |