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Buffalo Sabres' Playoff Push: Was Win vs. Toronto Destiny?

Greg Maiola@Gom1094Senior Analyst IIApril 4, 2012

Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres' victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs was reminiscent of the Buffalo Sabres' season. As soon as they are down and out, they somehow pull through. Though their playoff hopes are still out of their control, it is never safe to count out the resilient Sabres.

The great people of Buffalo live for Sabres hockey. Players were alarmed when the boos poured down. With a 3-0 deficit, the clock was against Buffalo and a playoff run seemed out of reach.

Buffalo had already taken a blow from the Maple Leafs a few days prior. The Sabres won a huge game against the Washington Capitals, then backtracked and saw themselves on the outside looking in. They knew what the stakes were against Toronto and, with only two games remaining, they needed the two points.

So they capped off a remarkable game with a stunning 6-5 overtime win. Fans were reinforced of a few things as well: these Sabres never back down and they receive contributions from everybody on their squad.

Alexander Sulzer made a name for himself. He stepped up and twice helped Buffalo overcome two-goal deficits. Over the past 32 games, the Sabres are 20-7-5. They don't want to have a streak that ends with a too-little-too-late spirit. They want the playoffs and don't be surprised if they taste the playoffs.

The Sabres were one of the league's most disappointing teams. Their high payroll didn't translate into on-ice success. The comeback against the Maple Leafs was similar to the comeback towards playoff contention this season. And the road shouldn't end here.

The victory against Toronto was magical. It kept the Sabres alive. Veterans have provided the leadership, but the young players have provided the goals. Ryan Miller has stepped up his game and Tyler Ennis is playing some of his best hockey.

The Sabres' victory was meant to be. They could have folded in and spoiled their season in front of their home crowd. They dug in and toughed it out. They have overcome adversity and roster moves this season, making them mentally tough.

Being mentally and physically sound will benefit the Sabres with two games left. They know they need four points. The season has turned around for Buffalo and the light is at the end of the tunnel. Though they don't control their own destiny, the playoffs are their destiny.

The message is simple; the Sabres have a never-say-never attitude that has allowed them to return to playoff contention. Washington must slip for Buffalo to leapfrog them and be in the top eight in the East. The way Buffalo recovered against the Toronto Maple Leafs was not coincidence or luck. They have a playoff run in them and just need things to go their way for two more nights.

And based on the wicked turnaround, would anyone be surprised?

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