Which former Sabres captain was tied for the NHL lead in game-winning playoff goals in the first round?
It's not Daniel Briere, who was leading the postseason with five goals and nine points in five playoff games going into tonight's critical Game Six against Washington. It's not Chris Drury, either, although he did score -- surprise, surprise -- the series-clinching goal for the Rangers over the Devils.
Why it's none other than Stars center Stu Barnes, who had the winner in Game Six on Sunday to beat the Ducks. Barnes had two winners in the series and was tied with Calgary winger Owen Nolan for the playoff lead. Barnes has 30 postseason goals in his career, and 11 have been winners.
Barnes, 37, has been a class act throughout his career. The Sabres didn't want to lose him, but he was part of the salary purge during the 2002-03 season. He made only $900,000 this season and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Buffalo management is looking for veteran leadership going into next season. Should they consider bringing him back, if even for a year, for 12 to 14 minutes a night?
--- Bucky Gleason