|Ryan Miller looks on during the national anthem before a game against the |
Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Dec. 30, 2011 in Washington, DC.
(Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Tonight presents us with one of those nerve-wrecking games that die-hard fans live for; edge-of-your-seat, heart-racing, eyes wide open hockey. "I think to call it a big game is an understatement," said Sabres defenseman Robyn Regehr. "There's just so much on the line." This sounds like the playoffs, smells like the playoffs and feels like the playoffs. Must be the playoffs then, right?
Well it is. Somewhat. I'd like to view tonight not necessarily as a playoff game, but as a "play-in" game instead. As previously mentioned, we are in the midst of the playoffs before the playoffs. While tonight won't make or break either team's fate, the winner will have an important edge as we are within 12 days of the season's end. "It's going to be like a playoff game," Capitals LW Jason Chimera said. "Both teams need it and it's going to be a fun game to play in." Take a glance at the potential odds impact by game outcome after the jump.
Buffalo Sabres at Washington Capitals
WAS - Reg Win (-20.1%)
WAS - OT Win (-7.9%)
WAS - SO Win (-7.9%)
BUF - Reg Win (+26.9%)
BUF - OT Win (+16.7%)
BUF - SO Win (+16.0%)
Yes, you read those correctly. There's a 47% swing for the Sabres' playoff odds there. "I don't think I need to sell anything (to the players)," Lindy Ruff mentioned. "They know where they're at. They understand where we can get to and how big the two points is."
|Eastern Conference Standings - March 27|
Last night saw the Ottawa Senators defeat the Winnipeg Jets in regulation (-1.4%). Daniel Alfredsson scored two goals in the third period to send the Senators to a 6-4 win over the Jets. Evander Kane tied the game and gave the Jets hope at 17:03 of the third period, however, Alfredsson scored his second goal of the game just 24 seconds later. Chris Neil, Kaspars Daugavins, Kyle Turris and Milan Michalek also scored for Ottawa (39-28-10), who is seventh in the Eastern Conference with 88 points. Winnipeg (35-33-8) is six points behind Washington and Buffalo with only six games remaining. They face the New York Rangers on Wednesday as they play their final six games against Eastern Conference rivals.
Ottawa is now four points ahead of Buffalo and Washington, but has played one extra game which will be made up tonight. Tonight's winner will be two behind Ottawa through an equal number of games played. Don't look now, but the winner will also trail the sixth-place New Jersey Devils by four points if the Chicago Blackhawks can defeat the Devils in regulation tonight. Here are the other games on the slate around the NHL tonight that will impact the Sabres' playoff odds.
Chicago Blackhawks at New Jersey Devils
NJ - Reg Win (-0.1%)
NJ - OT Win (-0.1%)
NJ - SO Win (-0.1%)
CHI - Reg Win (+0.2%)
CHI - OT Win (0.0%)
CHI - SO Win (0.0%)
Florida Panthers at Montreal Canadiens
MON - Reg Win (+1.6%)
MON - OT Win (-0.3%)
MON - SO Win (-0.3%)
FLA - Reg Win (-1.6%)
FLA - OT Win (-1.6%)
FLA - SO Win (-1.5%)
Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins
BOS - Reg Win (+0.2%)
BOS - OT Win (0.0%)
BOS - SO Win (0.0%)
TAM - Reg Win (-0.4%)
TAM - OT Win (-0.4%)
TAM - SO Win (-0.4%)
The Sabres are looking for their first win in Washington since Apr. 3, 2009. With a win, they would win the season series against Washington for the first time since they went 3-1-0 against the Capitals in 2007-08. They would also hop Washington in the standings and move into the eighth playoff spot. The Sabres are on a four-game winning streak for the second time this season (last: Nov. 4 to Nov. 11). They haven’t won five straight since winning six in a row from Dec. 29, 2009 to Jan. 8, 2010.
Tune into MSGB at 6:30pm for pre-game. The madness begins shortly after 7:00pm. You don't want to miss this tonight.