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Tuesday, March 24, 2015
By +Scott Leffler

DALLAS — With less than eight minutes to go Monday night in the Sabres game against the Dallas Stars, the Blue & Gold held a 3-2 lead — much to the chagrin of Sabres fans hoping the team will lose its remaining games in the 2014-2015 season.

"Tankers" across Western New York no doubt groaned when Matt Moulson scored at 10:52 of the third period to put the Sabres back in the lead, a position they'd maintained twice before in the game. Likewise, they must have breathed a collective sigh of relief at 16:46 when Cody Eakin scored, giving Dallas its first lead of the game — a lead they would hold until the final buzzer.

With just 20 wins and 47 points in 73 games this season, the Sabres are still well-positioned to get one of the top two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, known this year and the "McDavid/Eichel Sweepstakes." The team that finishes last this season will get one of them. The Sabres currently hold that position. Many fans — the "tankers" — want them to continue to hold it. Should they come in any higher than last place, their odds decrease dramatically.

Brian Gionta started the "tankers" concerns Monday night, scoring at 13:39 of the first period, assisted by Marcus Foligno and Mikhail Grigorenko. Jamie Benn tied it for the Stars at 19:31, assisted by Patrick Eaves and Patrik Nemeth.

Gionta again raised Sabres' fans ire 11:07 into the second period when he scored, assisted by Moulson and Johan Larsson. 

Benn tied the game again for Dallas at 1:56 of the third, assisted by Alex Goligoski. Then Moulson put Buffalo back in the lead at 10:52, assisted by Tyler Ennis. Eaves re-tied the game at 12:35. Tyler Seguin and Benn helped on the goal. Finally, at 16:46, Eakin put Dallas in the lead, assisted by John Klingberg and Ales Hemsky.

Sabres goaltender Anders Lindback stopped 35 of 39 shots against his old team. The Sabres acquired Lindback earlier this season in a trade for Jhonas Enroth.

Buffalo's next game — Thursday — will be a true test to tanking. The Sabres host the Arizona Coyotes, who currently have the second-worst record in the league at 50 points. A Sabres win would pull them within one point of Arizona, while a loss would widen the Coyotes' lead to five points. The same two teams play again Monday in Arizona.

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