In Buffalo on Monday, you had Lindy Ruff
talking as if Tuesday's game against the Capitals is just another big one in a season of 82, even though the veteran coach with 563 career victories knows that the Sabres' next game most definitely is not like the others.
At roughly the same time in Washington, you had Dale Hunter
comparing Tuesday's showdown against the Sabres to Game 7 of a playoff series, even though the former NHLer and veteran of nine Game 7s knows nothing really compares to the winner-takes-all game in the postseason.
The true meaning of this clash between the Capitals and streaking Sabres lies somewhere in the middle of one-of-82 and Game 7, but considering each team is playing for the right to control its own playoff fate with only 12 days left in the season you can see why Hunter is trying to bring a slice of Game 7 drama into his club's dressing room.
Washington and Buffalo each have 84 points with six games remaining. The Capitals have six more non-shootout wins and therefore enter the day as the eighth-place team in the Eastern Conference.
"It's a big game," Hunter told reporters at Capitals practice on Monday. "The players know it, we know it, so does the other team, and their coaches know it. It should be a heck of a game."