The Sabres are on the brink of elimination following a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators Monday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal.
History doesn’t play in the Sabres’ favour as only two NHL teams have rallied to win a series when down 3-0: The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders.
“Let’s add 2007,” said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. “You’ve got to remain positive. If you look back at the start of the year, the number of games we won in a row. We put some good strings together.”
As a team the Sabres can’t afford to get caught up in the numbers.
“I don’t think we can look that far,” said Sabres captain Chris Drury. “We need one good period to start and from there two periods and then hopefully a win.”
This was the first time the Sabres were held scoreless all season and try as they might they just don’t seem to have the answer to solving Ottawa’s Ray Emery.
Throwing a meagre 14 shots his way didn’t help the cause, and neither did a sputtering power play. Buffalo is 0-for-18 in the series after failing on six attempts with the man advantage Monday night.
“They’ve done an unbelievable job blocking shots all series,” said Drury. “It seems like there are layers and layers of Senators in front of the net.”
The Senators blocked 13 shots Monday for a total of 52 in the series, and have been especially diligent at blocking pucks when down a man.
“It’s all four guys trying to give them the least amount of time possible with the puck,” said Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips. “It’s four guys working their butts off trying to look like five.”
The Senators are more than pleased with the position they’ve put themselves in, but they’re not looking past Game 4 Wednesday night.
“We’re not overly surprised with where we are, but at the same time we know there’s lots of work to do,” said Ottawa’s Mike Fisher. “We can’t get too high; we haven’t won the series yet. We just need to keep pushing.”
The Sabres vow to push as hard as they can Wednesday knowing their season is on the line.
“We’re not going to win with 14 shots on net,” said Buffalo’s Derek Roy. “We’re in a situation now that we can’t do anything about, so we just need to go out and prove that we’re the best team.”
Buffalo was just that during the regular season, capturing the President’s Trophy with 53 wins and 113 points. But none of that matters now, with the Sabres just one loss away from a summer of disappointment.
“We just need to find a way, just win one game,” said defenceman Brian Campbell.