The nightmare is over.
With 30th place locked up, and a guarantee of at least Jack Eichel in the upcoming NHL Entry Level Draft, the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, with little worry.
For the first time in recent memory, the First Niagara Center crowd was rocking in Buffalo’s favor as first period action began.
Pittsburgh opened up, controlling a lot of the offensive zone play, but that would only last a few minutes.
As the first aged, the Sabres offensive pressure increased, along with their physical play.
Patrick Kaleta, likely playing his final game as a Buffalo Sabre, tallied 4 hits in the first.
Buffalo would attempt to take control of the game as the second began, but the first intermission seemed to wake the Pittsburgh Penguins up.
The Penguins controlled the game offensively, evident by the 16-7 split in second period shots.
Pittsburgh would also find themselves rewarded for their hard work in the offensive zone.
At 14:23 of the second period, Brandon Sutter would put home the puck, on a backhand. Sutter’s 20th goal of the season would put the Penguins up 1-0.
Heading into the final period of the season, the Sabres needed to step up their game, if they planned on playing spoilers.
Unfortunately, that would not be the case.
The Pittsburgh Penguins would turn the heat up, even more, on the Buffalo Sabres.
For large amounts of the third period, it seemed as if the Sabres had forgotten how to enter their own zone.
Pittsburgh would put the bow on this game, and clinch a playoff berth, with another Brandon Sutter goal.
Sutter’s 21st of the season, at 8:26 of the third, would be the final tally of the game.
When all was said and done, the Buffalo Sabres would fall to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-0.
The Sabres finish the 2014-15 National Hockey League with a 23-51-8 record, recording 54 points.
You now can exhale, Sabres fans.