March 19, 2008 -- The Sabres seemed to be done like dinner when they trailed Tampa Bay, 4-1.
Not so fast. They scored the last six goals of the game to stun the Lightning, 7-4. John Vogl had the details for The News:
OK, who wrote them off? Go ahead, you can admit it. You are hardly alone.
It looked hopeless. The Buffalo Sabres were terrible for much of the game Wednesday. If you couldn't tell by their 4-1 deficit, certainly you could tell by the mood of the crowd. The packed house in HSBC Arena started booing early in the second period, and they were in full-throated mode by the end of it.
Lindy Ruff said his team deserved to be slapped even harder.
"I thought the boos were a little shallow, as a matter of fact," the coach said.
But a funny thing happened while the bandwagon was emptying and people were planning their vacations around a playoff-free April and May.
The Sabres caught Lightning and bottled it.
The Sabres scored six times in the final 15 minutes, barreling past Tampa Bay to a frenzied 7-4 victory.
It bears repeating: The Sabres scored six times in the final 15 minutes!
It was the third straight win by the NHL's highest-scoring team, which pulled within one point of Philadelphia for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. They have eight games remaining.
"If we would have dropped that one tonight, maybe three weeks from now we might have looked back at this game and been like, 'Oh, wow, this really cost us,' " said left wing Thomas Vanek, who tied the game and scored the game-winner during his three-goal night. "But we took care of business. Not the pretty way, but it counts as two points."
--- Budd Bailey