Are the natives getting restless?

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Nine days ago Lindy Ruff addressed the media on the morning of Game 1 and sounded like Patton.

The Sabres were going to play their game. They were going to dictate the pace. Take care of that, the coach said, and everything else would fall into place.

On the morning of Game 5, with this series suddenly deadlocked 2-2, the tone has shifted around the team that won the President’s Trophy this season. Suddenly to the Sabres, playing their game isn’t enough.

“It’s going to be an extremely tough game,” Ruff said. “I don’t think that’s going to change. But there are times inside the game when we’re going to need a little more. I hope that message has come across.”

Since this series started I’ve made reference to the intense pressure that is on the Sabres this spring. Never has it been more palpable than right now — be in in the tone of players’ answers; to the type of questions being asked; even in Ruff’s implication that the Sabres tonight might stray from the puck possession style that marked their successful regular season.

It’s not as clear cut as saying the Rangers have nothing to lose while the Sabres have everything. But let’s just say the Sabres might not have the same swagger they had a week ago.

More from the Rangers side of things in a bit…

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24 Comments

  1. hockeymanrangers on

    Who can answer a question for me??? I have a schedule conflict Eklund has on his schedule that the 6th game (Sundays) is back in NY True or False

  2. The Sabres just might be coming to a mindset of

    “We won the Presidents’ Trophy so we’re the best; Aren’t we; aren’t we?”

    If I were Renney I’d come back with “We’re happy to be here; we’re enjoying it all.”

    Buffalo’s a good team, no doubt about it.

    But they’re ripe for a fall.

  3. Awww Sam, I loved you doing the practice on RangersONdemand ant nyrangers.com!

  4. Sam,

    Tell the Rangers that today is Doodie Machetto’s dad’s birthday and he’s a lifelong, diehard fan. It’s his first birthday without his mom and it would be an amazing present to him for the Rangers to win tonight.

    LET’S GO RANGERS! DO IT FOR DADDY MACHETTO!

  5. Or Lindy may be just setting the Rangers fans and reporters up for nice weekend sweep. Everyone had the Sabres winning in 6 anyways – might as well make a fun weekend out of it.

  6. “When we wipe up those Greasy Buffalo Wings after 6 games, the versus crew and other sports MSM won’t have any excuses left to delegitimize the Rangers-”
    BlueClue, if you don’t mind me asking, what’s MSM stand for?

    Wow, I never noticed that too many men either. I guess the other forward PKers got off the ice after they got out of the Rangers zone, then with only one guy coming off the bench to replace them. That sucks, but I know nobody on VS. will mention it tonight. Good catch by Rodent.

  7. Broadway Roe on

    What time is everyone getting to the Garden tonight? Does anybody know when the door open?

  8. For those of you that might not have seen it and love the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff, there is a interesting video on the NYR equipment guys on MSG ON DEMAND…
    Sully..
    What’s your thoughts w/ regard to Buffalo’s expectations and the potential ‘pucker’ factor?

  9. Lowtide 10

    -Expectations is that we win or the season is a failure. Rangers have changed the way the Sabres are playing right now – and for Sabres to be succesful they have go back to their game. The Sabres didn’t get the first seed because of their defensive play, no reason to change it now. They need to open it up and try to create some chances. If they do not – they are playing into the Rangers hands. It should be a little easier tonight at home – Ruff can keep the Drury line against Jagr. I just hope the game has some friggin excitment – this series has been a snoozer, and yes it was boring when we were up 2-0 as well.

  10. This series has been anything but a snoozer for any Ranger fan. We’ve enjoyed watching our team rally into the playoffs in front of great team play, great goaltending, and great coaching.

    We’ve seen our team sweep another out of the playoffs.

    We’ve been given much to be optimistic about in this series and for next season as well.

    Our task is to win one game in Buffalo and one at home.

    It makes for an exciting brand of hockey when you are up against the #1 seed and you are two wins away from ending their season.

  11. It’s a boring war of attrition for you, Sully, but an exhilarating goal line stance for us.

  12. Snoozer?

    I’d say that this has been one of the more fun series’ to watch. Low scoring is just fine with me as long as there are chances both ways and big saves. The shot totals show that it isn’t just a battle of defensive shells. That’s just my opinion though. Everyone is allowed their own.

  13. All I know is this game tonight is most likely going to determine who wins this series. If Buffalo wins tonight, I don’t see the NYR winning both Games 6 and 7, especially 7 on the road. It would be VERY tough. But if the NYR win tonight, they have a 3-2 lead and a chance to clinch on home ice. Not the best situation for Buffalo.

    C’mon Henrik, we need your first career road shutout tonight!

    LETS GO RANGERS!!

  14. NJ Mark….why the hell did u say the “s” word…come on you should know better then that!!!

    Lets Go Rangers!!!!

  15. Sorry for the self-promotion, but I found a really funny Geico Caveman spoof that I posted on my blog.

  16. reginald dunlop on

    that there is the old edmonton oiler line change…….gain the bench length on the change…….the sabres just did it while shorthanded and while the player was still leaving the zamboni corner………it was pretty obvious on the 31st side of the garden, but from the bench you cant see that corner

  17. Hey Sully, you know what’s boring, this Sabres fans website where they ridicule the Rangers but only manage to make themselves look as stupid as they really are….

    http://www.wehateyourteam.com

    Ruff-Ruff sounds desperate…

    LET’S GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!

  18. Yenner Mot on

    “Hey Sam! Ask Renney and League officials if they noticed this glaring mistake. Go down to the too many men on the ice part:”

    Rodent banned my IP, what does it say?

  19. Yenner – there are pictures to illustrate but I cut and pasted the words.

    With 4:53 remaining in Period 2 and New York on a power play, Dainus Zubrus takes the puck deep into Ranger territory. That’s him being squashed behind the net (below). Drury is right by the crease. Got it?

    Now watch what happens two seconds later. The Blueshirts begin to break out. Zubrus is still stuck behind the Ranger net. And Drury (next column) slams Sean Avery into the corner boards.

    Matt Cullen skates the ball into the neutral zone. But what’s this? Who is that hopping over the boards at precisely 15:11? Notice please that neither Drury nor Zubrus are anywhere near the Sabre bench.

    The mystery man is none other than Tim Connolly (19) who has made it five-on-five with 41 seconds still to go on Daniel Briere’s penalty! Yet there was no whistle. Dmitri Kalinin (45) and Toni Lydman (5) are with Connolly in the neutral zone. Zubrus and Drury are stuck deep. That makes five Sabres, not counting Ryan Miller in goal.

    But it gets even better than that, folks.

    Not only do the Sabres get away with a biggie… the league covers up this glaring error by fixing (cough) the official records of the game.

    According to the paperwork, Connolly’s shift does not begin until 15:35 when Zubrus’ shift officially ends. Yet Connolly is clearly on the ice at 15:12 – twenty-one seconds earlier!

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