By Mike Harrington
The Sabres needed to get a few breaks out of town Thursday night in advance of Friday's visit by the Rangers. They got absolutely none of them.
1). The Rangers killed the pathetic Panthers, 6-1
2). The Islanders won in Toronto, 5-3
3). The Jets survived a late tying goal to beat Carolina in overtime, 4-3
4). The Senators ended the Capitals' eight-game win streak with a 3-1 win.
The Sabres have 44 points with four games left and the best they can do is 52. And they lose a tiebreaker with any teams. So here's a look at the standings:
7. NYI 51 pts, 4 games left
8. NYR 48 pts, 5 games left
9. WPG 48 pts, 4 games left
10. BUF 44 pts, 4 games left
11. NJD 42 pts, 5 games left
It comes down to this: A regulation loss to the Rangers cooks the Sabres, leaving them with a maximum of 50 points and no tiebreakers to survive on. Just win. All four games. Then see what happens.