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The Sabres Observer

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Fending off Carolina for 8th place in the East hasn’t been easy for the Sabres, considering the Hurricanes have won five of their last six games.  It’s tough putting away a team in hot pursuit that can scratch and claw its way to five straight wins in games decided by one goal, which is what Carolina has done in just the past two weeks.

All of this makes the Sabres clutch 1-0 victory over the Rangers last night that much more significant.  Now, Buffalo has in effect dragged the once semi-comfortable Rangers into a three-team battle for two Eastern Conference playoff spots and has given pesky Carolina another target at which to aim.

Despite a fantastic performance in this game by rookie goalie Jhonas Enroth, the big question for the Sabres right now is the extent of Ryan Miller’s injury.  In the past week, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner has taken a Brian Rolston shot to the face mask and a Dion Phaneuf blast to the collarbone.  The Sabres are being mum on specifics.

From The Buffalo News,

“He has an upper-body injury that we list currently day-to-day, not week-to-week. Right now we’re on day-to-day,” said Regier, who declined to say whether Miller underwent concussion testing. “I’m going to comment on only an upper-body injury. That’s the extent of it.”

Miller has taken two high shots this week, with New Jersey’s Brian Rolston blasting him in the mask Saturday and Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf catching Miller in the collarbone area Tuesday.

“That shot did play a role,” Regier said of the Phaneuf slap shot. “That’s the extent of my comments. It’s upper body, and we’ll leave it at that.”

Regier said Miller may return for Saturday’s game at Washington or Sunday’s crucial matchup at ninth-place Carolina.

Buffalo showed a lot of desperation last night and did a great job clogging the middle and limiting the number of scoring opportunities for the Rangers.  The Sabres would be well served to bottle that up and take it on the road with them this weekend, whether they need to call on Enroth again or not.

Extra: Sabres playoff destiny per SportsClubStats data: vs Flyers (33%), vs Capitals (25%), vs Bruins (24%), miss playoffs (15%), vs Penguins or Lightning (3%)

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

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Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]