The Buffalo Sabres beat the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, cutting their “lead” on the Oilers to just 3 points.
Buffalo rode hot goal-tending to another win, as Michal Neuvirth is looking like a legitimate starting goalie. Buffalo was outshot 31-20 but Eddie Lack allowed 5 goals, and did not look good in Buffalo.
Chris Stewart had another productive game, scoring goals in back to back games for the Sabres. Torrey Mitchell scored twice, his first goal since November 22nd, 29 games. Nikita Zadorov rode the bench the 4th straight game, and has lost trust of coaches and teammates. There is a good chance he is packaged into a deal at the Deadline, as Tim Murray did not draft Zadorov and is definitely in Ted Nolan’s dog house. Murray also called out Zadorov on an interview Thursday on WGR550, saying “You can slack off once in awhile if you’re a veteran, but a 19 year old can’t do that. Not in our sport. Once a guy loses respect in a room, it’s hard to get it back.” Hopefully Murray still views Zadorov as a piece to build around, and doesn’t ship him off because of Zadorov being a kid.
With the win, Buffalo shortens their lead on the Oilers to 3 points with 20 games remaining for both teams. Arizona also benefited from the Sabres win, as they blew a 3-1 lead to the Rangers, and pulled within 4 points.
The last 2 months of the NHL season are going to be exciting, as this has turned into a 3 team race for the bottom. Buffalo has 2 games key matchups remaining against the Coyotes in March, but no games remaining against the Oilers.
Will Tim Murray trade Neuvirth prior to the trade deadline, to ensure the hot goalie doesn’t ruin the tank?