By John Vogl
The Buffalo Sabres’ path to the playoffs is filled with signs that read “Rough Road Ahead.”
It might soon read “Do Not Enter.”
The Sabres enter tonight’s home game against Montreal in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. More important than their standing is how far back of a playoff spot they have fallen.
The seventh-place New York Islanders and eighth-place Rangers both have 44 points. The Sabres are six back with 38. Each team has eight games remaining.
The Isles and Rangers are on pace for 53 points. For the Sabres to match that, they need to go 7-0-1 down the stretch.
“Anything can happen,” left wing Thomas Vanek said today First Niagara Center. “So many teams probably thought they were out of it, then they won three games in a row. Until the end, you have a chance.”
Another loss or two would all but end Buffalo’s chances.
“There’s a lot of points up for grabs here,” left wing Steve Ott said. “It’s going to be a tough task.”
Montreal is fourth in the Eastern Conference but has the third-most points with 55. The Habs are only one point behind Northeast Division-leading Boston. Buffalo is 4-0-1 in its last five home games against Montreal and 8-1-1 in the last 10 overall.
Ryan Miller will start in goal tonight. Interim coach Ron Rolston said Jhonas Enroth will start one of the Sabres’ next two games, either Saturday against Philadelphia or Sunday against Tampa Bay.
John Scott will be scratched for the Sabres.
“Everyone in that locker room still believes we’re a playoff team,” Rolston said.
taggedMontreal Canadiens | Thomas Vanek