The Stat Line Of The Night — 2/8/11 — Drew Stafford
Heading into the third period trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning by a goal on the road, few gave the Buffalo Sabres a realistic shot at completing the comeback against the Eastern Conference’s second place team. Those who counted them out, however, couldn’t have been more surprised with what they would witness next.
The Sabres were actually trailing by two goals with less than two minutes remaining in the second period, but a late goal from Thomas Vanek would cut the lead to one and set up the comeback in the final frame. That was when Drew Stafford would make his mark, scoring two of the Sabres five third period goals en route to the 7-4 victory. Stafford also had a goal in the opening period, giving him the hat-trick and “The Stat Line of the Night” for Tuesday, February 8, 2011.
With the win, the Sabres have clawed their way to within four points of the final playoff spot in the East, thanks in large part to a 7-3 record in their previous ten games. Despite the absence of Derek Roy, who suffered a season-ending injury 35 games into the season, the rest of the Sabres’ players have refused to quit. That was evident during last night’s game, and if they can continue to put together performances like that, they may be playing some meaningful hockey come April.