The Sabres are throwing another party tonight and it’s shaping up to be the team’s biggest happening in some time. Beyond the off-ice festivities of the game, and perhaps more importantly, the club is in a position to clinch a playoff spot.
That there is something actually at stake behind the red carpet and pregame awards certainly ups the ante and excitement surrounding the evening. It’s going to be a fun night. There will be butterflies in the stomachs of fans for sure.
Never mind Mike Wilson and Donald Audette and Bill Hajt and Jerry Korab and Wilf Paiement are going to be in attendance. The Flyers are in town, too, and there’s going to be a postseason atmosphere in the arena.
We won’t know until after tomorrow how the Eastern Conference will shake out so we could very well be watching a first-round match-up tonight. Seeing how Lindy Ruff and Peter Laviolette strategize and counter each other’s game plans is another interesting subplot that carries a little more weight now than a game in November.
It’s tough to say what exactly I expect to see tonight. The stuff before the game has the potential to be very cool. Hopefully none of that distracts the current team. If anything, as we saw when Dominik Hasek visited last month, the mood gives them an extra boost and propels them to a fast start.
The start is important, but more important is playing 60 minutes of hockey. The playoffs are unrelenting and if the Sabres end up taking a period off, a team like the Flyers could run away with things.
Jhonas Enroth is expected to start between the pipes. Let’s see how it goes.