“There’s Always Next Year”

It’s a phrase that has become all too familiar for Buffalo fans, and for years, many have become accustomed to saying it every April. 

Once again, it’s been said again.

On Friday night, the Sabres had a chance to keep their slim playoff hopes alive by hosting the Rangers, but I don’t think anyone expected the Rangers to dominate and go on to win 8-4. That officially eliminated Buffalo from playoff contention. 

Another dreadful season for a team that was promised by Terry Pegula that success was in the near future. Well, we haven’t seen it. After being demolished with injuries last year, there was no excuse for this season. 

In what very well could have been Ryan Miller’s last home game in Buffalo, the Rangers knocked the Sabres (and Flyers) out of playoff contention with a win. 

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New York scored five goals in 2:58, which were the fastest five against the Sabres by more than three minutes (the previous was five in 6:24 of a 7-6 win at PIT, 3/10/76).

In such a big game, how could Buffalo come up so short?

Ryan Miller was pulled and Jhonas Enroth didn’t do much better. Sure, a few of the goals were lucky as they bounced off of defensemen’s skates, but to allow eight goals in the biggest game of the year?

The fans at the First Niagara Center were giving Miller mock cheers after finally saving a few shots, and Miller acknowledged them with a wave. 

“Ok, if they want to mock me for two bad bounces, they can mock me after that horrible play, Miller said. “If they can dish it out, they can take it back. I sat there and took it. You know, I screwed up and made a critical error.”

Miller had more to say in his post game interview:

“They just want to see the team win and we haven’t done it,” Miller said. “It’s been years and years of not getting it done. If they want change, or they’re pissed off, it’s fine. It’s not like we haven’t been searching for a way to satisfy our needs that basically satisfy their needs.”

Emotions ran high at the end of a long night, and there is a feeling that more changes are imminent this offseason. After saying goodbye to Jason Pominville, many fans are wondering if Miller could be gone come October. 

Regardless, the NHL postseason will be starting soon, and again, it will be without Buffalo.

Just as Sabres fans have said it for the past 42 seasons, “there’s always next year.”

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