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Guarded Optimism is an Understatement

After losing two straight decisions to division rivals Boston and Ottawa, the Sabres bounced back defeating the B’s for the second time this season, Friday.
So far the Buffalo Sabres have been a conundrum, putting up their best efforts against the toughest opponents while losing to the likes of lowly Florida and Washington.
Despite the rocky start where they have yet to win more than two games in a row, the Sabres are only 2-points from an Eastern Conference playoff spot and 5-points behind the division leading Bruins.
Drew Stafford broke out of one of his signature slumps, tallying his first goal of the season and adding an assist against Boston.
To snap out of the cycle of inconsistency that has marred the start of the truncated season they need more scoring from the players not named Pominville, Hodgson and Vanek. 
Ryan Miller has been as solid as any goaltender in the league thus far and with a rededication to defensive hockey, the Sabres will give themselves a chance to climb into the playoff picture.
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They have earned wins over second place Boston, fifth place Montreal and sixth place Toronto so, but have accomplished little else otherwise to suggest they are ready to compete for that playoff spot.
After 15-games, they sit in the basement of the Northeast Division and the bottom third of the league with a 6-8-1 record.
Today, the Sabres will look to get on a roll against the red hot Pittsburgh Penguins who have won 7 of their last 10 and sit one point behind New Jersey atop the Eastern Conference.
The game will be played in the afternoon as one of four grinds encompassed by “Hockey Day in America.”
Moving forward, the Sabres will play a full slate of games this week; facing Winnipeg Tuesday, Toronto Thursday and New York Islanders Saturday.
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Three very winnable games that the Sabres will need to take down in order to seat themselves in the playoff picture come the halfway point of the season.
It would seem that backup goalie Jhonas Enroth will be in line for some action this week considering after Sunday Miller will have started the last six contests.
Most likely, Enroth will see action in one of the games at home which are against Winnipeg and the Islanders.
During the game today, watch for the Buffalo defense to join the rush and continue to ramp up their efforts to contribute to the secondary scoring.
Photos: Joe Cascio
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