No more looks at the standings are needed. No more peeks at the out-of-town scoreboard.
That’s because there’s no postseason hockey – again – for the Buffalo Sabres.
Friday’s 8-4 loss to the New York Rangers in First Niagara Center means it’s two years in a row the Sabres have not made the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It’s also four times in the last six years and seven times in the last 11.
Hockey Heaven, thy resume does not fit.
“This whole season has been an extreme disappointment,” said defenseman Mike Weber. “This is not what our organization is about. We’re about winning games, doing things the right way and making the playoffs and going for the Cup. It’s back-to-back years now. We can’t do that.”
Interim coach Ron Rolston showed some bite with the media for the first time in his tenure when pressed on the issue of his team’s collapse during an 8½-minute stretch that resulted in six goals.
“Of course it’s disconcerting. What kind of question is that?” Rolston barked. “What do you think? I’m not concerned about it? Of course it’s disconcerting ... We lost a game that we needed to win. Absolutely. ... We didn’t have it tonight. There’s no excuse.”
The Sabres were locked in a scoreless game for 18½ minutes before heading into the first intermission in a sudden 3-0 hole from which they never recovered.
“Really if you look at it, two minutes out of the whole game killed us,” said winger Thopmas Vanek.
The Sabres had too many stretches like that during the lockout-shortened season however. They won their first two games, lost their next three and have not been over .500 since.
Lindy Ruff was fired with the team 6-10-1 and Rolston has gone 13-10-5 while dealing with the trades of Jordan Leopold, Robyn Regehr and Jason Pominville.
“It hasn’t been easy,” said Vanek. “I thought we worked hard once we traded some players away. We stuck with it, lost some games we could have won. Just collectively we weren’t good enough.”
The Sabres’ schedulded game tonight in Pittsburgh has been moved to Tuesday night at 7:30 because of Friday’s events surrounding the manhunt in Boston to apprehend the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Because of the police activity in the region, the NHL postponed Friday night’s Bruins game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and will play it today at 12:30, causing a postponement in the Sabres’ schedule.
“The league contacted us in the early afternoon saying, ‘This is the scenario that may play out, this is what’s gonna happen and we’ll move the games around,’ ” said Michael Gilbert, the Sabres’ vice president of public relations. “There really wasn’t a whole lot for us to say, given the circumstances.”
While it has no significance when compared to the tragedy in Boston, the Bruins – who have already clinched a playoff berth but are trying to secure the conference’s No. 2 seed – are facing a real scheduling crunch at the end of their season.
They are already slated to make up Monday’s postponement against Ottawa on April 28, the day after the regular season was to end, and an earlier snowout against Tampa Bay on April 25.
“Everybody understands what’s going on,” Gilbert said. “Our thoughts are with them.”
The Rangers’ five goals in 2:58 were a franchise record for them and the fastest five against the Sabres by more than three minutes. Buffalo allowed five goals in a 6:24 span on March 10, 1976 at Pittsburgh but actually won that game, 7-6.
The NHL record is five goals in 2:07, set by Pittsburgh in a 10-4 win at St. Louis on Nov. 22, 1972.
The Sabres’ two goals in six seconds in the second period were two seconds shy of their record of four seconds, set by Lee Fogolin and Don Luce in 1974 against California.
Sabres rookie defenseman Mark Pysyk scored his first NHL goal with 40 seconds left in the game on a power play. ... The Sabres were 2 for 4 on the power play and are 5 of 13 in the last three games. ... The Sabres had not given up more than six goals in any game this season and the Rangers had not scored more than six.