When a team loses a guy like Ryan Miller to injury before a big game, you'll have to pardon fans of that team for not being all the excited about the evening's prospects. That's exactly what happened in Buffalo on Wednesday, but luckily Jhonas Enroth was up to the task.
Enroth and the Sabres blanked the visiting New York Rangers by a score of 1-0, lifting their point total even with New York. Holding the tiebreaker, Buffalo actually leaped over NYR into seventh place with the victory. It was, simply put, a goalie duel, as it usually is when the Rangers can't score and Henrik Lundqvist is in the net. He made 34 saves for the Blueshirts in the loss.
At SB Nation's Blueshirt Banter, they called the effort unacceptable.
The fact of the matter is, the Rangers never established their forecheck and struggled to get pucks to the net. If I was mathematically inclined I could tell you how many times the Rangers missed the net, but unfortunately I can't count past twenty (kidding). The long layoff probably played a role in the Rangers inability to control the puck, but excuses are for losers and Devils fans. This is the final push to playoffs and nothing but perfection is satisfactory.
Elsewhere in the NHL...
Hurricanes 6, Canadiens 2: Carolina won't be sending the Rangers thank you cards for their loss to the Sabres, but the entire situation on Wednesday night does indeed pack the entire Eastern Conference playoff bubble into the elevator. We might not know which teams are going up and which are going down, but it certainly is much more interesting now.
Ninth place Carolina pulled within three points of both Buffalo and New York with their win, and thanks to defeating Montreal, they're only five points back of sixth place in the East. All the teams on the bubble have five games left in the regular season, except for the Canadiens, who have just four remaining.
Devils 3, Islanders 2: Anything but a win would have officially eliminated the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night, but they assured that their season will at least live on one more day with a 3-2 win over the Islanders. Martin Brodeur made 27 saves and Andy Greene scored the game-winning goal with 4:56 left in the third period.