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07 May 2007

Sabres Escape from New York

It is over and Buffalo fans can breathe a bit easier, well, at least for a few days. The Sabres finally overcame a spirited effort by the Rangers after they brought their effort in line with their talent level.

I must admit I came away from the series with a much greater respect for Tom Renney and the Rangers in general. Unfortunately I also found my lack of belief in Jaromir Jagr reinforced in games 5 and 6. Jagr played ok but he had the ability to dominate this series. The Sabres simply couldn't handle him down low. Instead of bulling to the net and forcing the Sabres to play hack-a-shaq on him he was simply content to stay to the outside. On the Sabres end Danny Briere upped his effort nicely in games 5 and 6, but... a 7 million dollar player, as Danny is likely to be, needs to be better.

Color me thorughly impressed with Michael Rosival, Lundqvist and Martin Straka. I thought each of them brought it all every single game. They were the heart and soul of a strong Ranger's effort. I also liked the contributions of the young Rangers like Girardi, Callahan and Betts. Each played strong and bode well for the Ranger's future.

Kudos to Ryan Miller, Chris Drury and Henrik Tallinder who played marvelous the entire series. I honestly believe that Tallinder outwilled Jagr and did what you have to do with Jagr. If you make it hard for Jagr to be great he won't be and Tallinder made him work for everything and Jagr eventually faded.

Up next is the Ottawa Senators. This should be an emotionally supercharged series and has the potential to be an all-time classic. The NHL should get a showcase of the open, emotional hockey they want to sell.

My pick: Sabres in 7 nasty games.

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