Biron makes point

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

Maybe it's in the skates.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Martin Biron backstopped his club to a thrilling 3-2 shootout win against the Maple Leafs last night and then had a small group of media watch as he took his skates off. Why? Well, about three minutes after he began doing so, Biron had finally unwound the tape around his ankles.

"I use nearly two rolls on my ankles every game," Biron said with a smile. "There's a tape company living off my tape. My skates are 10 years old and don't have any padding anymore, but they feel good. I've tried many different pairs but I just can't (make the switch)."

No matter. The Sabres, in bad need of a strong goaltending performance, got one from Biron. He was named first star after making 31 saves in regulation and overtime followed by stops on Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Alexei Ponikarovsky in the shootout. Most importantly, the Sabres clinched a playoff berth by earning one point.

Buffalo will participate in the Stanley Cup tournament for the first time in five years. Neither Biron nor his Sabres partner in net, Ryan Miller, has played one minute in the NHL playoffs.

"It was a relief to get that point," Biron said. "Even though the last stretch was a bad one (one win in nine games), the biggest stretch of the year is coming up in three weeks.

"The way it has been over the last three years, is we were down to the wire looking at the scoreboard to see if we were going to be able to make it. Now it is about us and about other teams saying Buffalo has clinched."

YOUNG GOALIES STEP UP

Justin Pogge and Tuukka Rask, possibly the Leafs' netminders of the future, have been having continued success.

Pogge, who starred for Canada in its gold-medal win at the 2006 world junior, rebounded from a poor start in the WHL playoffs to help the Calgary Hitmen advance to the second round. Pogge, signed by the Leafs this past winter, won the final three games of the opening-round.

Rask, the Leafs' first-round pick last year, had a 2.09 goals-against average in 30 regular-season games with Ilves Tampere of the Finnish Elite League.


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