Beyond the Boards is written by the Buffalo Sabres Website Manager, Brian Wheeler. Joining the Sabres prior to the 2003-04 season, Wheeler is the main contact and content editor for Sabres.com. He has worked in the NHL, NFL, AHL and NLL over the past 11 years. Click here
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| The team went back to work as usual on Thursday morning at the Amherst Pepsi Center in the shadow's of last night's wild 7-4 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. |
[Note: The team practiced on UB's campus because the 2008 Corporate Challenge was being held in the arena.]
It was a big win. That's saying the least.
Not only did the victory come in dramatic fashion, it kept the team's playoff hopes a reality by bringing the Sabers within a point of the Philadelphia Flyers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
However, Jochen Hecht brought up a sobering point. Buffalo can ill afford to allow their opponent to get that kind of stranglehold on a game that would require that type of comeback.
"If we're playing against another team in the standings, it's not that easy to comeback from three goals," said Hecht. "It was a big two points that we needed but we've got to play well over the last eight games."
Only two of the Sabres remaining eight contents with Northeast Division foes are against a team with a losing record: the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Buffalo has gone 4-2 in four contests with Toronto this season, but is a combined 7-9-2 against the other three opponents: Boston (2-3-1); Montreal (3-3-0); and Ottawa (2-3-1).
So the team's task doesn't get any easier from this point on.
Speaking of last night, here are some notes from last night's come-from-behind 7-4 Sabres win over Tampa Bay (courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau):
- Before last night, the last team to win a game in regulation time after trailing by 3+ goals in the third period was the Sabres on March 23, 2007 vs. Toronto (trailed 4-1, won 5-4).
- The last team to score 6+ unanswered goals in the third period in one game was Colorado on March 3, 1999 at Florida (six).
- Thomas Vanek recorded his second natural hat trick of the season against Tampa Bay. The last player with two natural hat tricks against one team in the same season was Washington's Peter Bondra vs. the Islanders in 1995-96.
- All three of Vanek's goals were assisted on by Derek Roy and Drew Stafford. The last natural hat trick on which the same two players assisted on all three goals (regardless of the order listed on the sheet) was by Jarome Iginla on March 4, 2002 against the Rangers in New York. Marc Savard and Craig Conroy assisted on all three goals.
- The Sabres trailed the Lightning, 4-1, with just under 15:00 to play in the third period, but Buffalo scored six unanswered goals and beat Tampa Bay, 7-4. It was only the fifth time in NHL history that a team won a game by a margin of three (or more) goals after trailing by at least three goals in the third period. The last team to do it was Chicago on Feb. 1, 1989 (7-4 vs. Winnipeg).
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