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03-12-2011, 01:45 AM
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Surging Sabres moving into playoff contention

They're on a 6-1-2 roll that has vaulted them into playoff contention for the first time since the start of the season. And the run has come mostly during what Miller described as a season-defining seven-game trip that concludes in Toronto on Saturday night.
"I think we've shown a lot of resilience," Miller said, referring to the Sabres going 18-8-4 since Jan. 1. "We can be happy with the effort, and knowing that there's a lot of hockey left to play and a lot left to prove."

Buffalo has responded with a more focused team effort, and a knack for winning close games. Since Dec. 28, the Sabres are 9-3-4 in games decided by one goal after opening the season going 7-7-4.
The second-half surge partially coincides with Terry Pegula's purchase of the franchise last month. A longtime Sabres fan, the Pennsylvania billionaire has already begun breathing life into a team that had lost its direction under former owner Tom Golisano.
Pegula is also providing some cosmetic changes to help inspire the Sabres. Upon arriving for practice Friday, Sabres players discovered a new carpet -- dark blue with the team's logo printed on it -- had been installed in the locker room while they were away.

"It finally looks like a locker room," forward Thomas Vanek said, crediting Pegula. "He's made it clear he's here to win. And I think you can see the changes already. He's part of us, and that's good."

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