Archive for December, 2011

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Sabres Look To Finish 2011 on a Good Note vs Senators

@ 7:00 PM

Last Game:

Ottawa: Dec 30 vs. Flames Win(OT) 4-3

Buffalo: Dec 30 at Capitals Loss 3-1

Record:

Ottawa: 16-15-5

Buffalo: 17-17-3

Points:

Ottawa: 41

Buffalo: 37

Rank In Conference:

Ottawa: 9th

Buffalo: 11th

Power Play Ranking:

Ottawa: 18.2(T-13th)

Buffalo: 19.0(11th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:

Ottawa: 79.2(26th)

Buffalo: 83.6(11th)

Goals For:

Ottawa: 114(7th)

Buffalo: 96(T-18th)

Goals Against:

Ottawa: 129(30th)

Buffalo: 108(22nd)

Shots For:

Ottawa: 1193(6th)

Buffalo: 1075(19th)

Shots Against:

Ottawa: 1201(27th)

Buffalo: 1145(20th)

Blocked Shots:

Ottawa: 539(12th)

Buffalo: 466(25th)

Hits:

Ottawa: 876(6th)

Buffalo: 654(27th)

Faceoff Percentage:

Ottawa: 49.6(T-18th)

Buffalo: 50.4(11th)

Team Leaders:

Goals:

Ottawa: Michalek(19), Spezza(13), Alfredsson, Foligno, and Z. Smith(11), Greening(8)

Buffalo: Vanek(18), Pominville(12), Adam(10), Roy(8)

Assists:

Ottawa: Karlsson(30), Spezza(25), Gonchar(19), Alfredsson(16)

Buffalo: Pominville(27), Vanek(21), Roy(15), Ehrhoff(14)

Points:

Ottawa: Spezza(38), Karlsson(35), Alfredsson(27), Michalek(26)

Buffalo: Pominville and Vanek(39), Roy(23), Adam(20), Stafford(19)

Plus/Minus:

Ottawa: Kuba and Condra(+6), Z. Smith(+5), Regin and Winchester(+3), B. Butler(+2)

Buffalo: Gragnani(+11), Hecht and Gerbe(+4), Vanek(+2), Leopold(+1)

Penalty Minutes:

Ottawa: Konopka(108), Neil(69), Foligno(58), Z. Smith(44)

Buffalo: Gaustad(61), Kaleta(52), Vanek(34), Stafford(32)

Shots:

Ottawa: Karlsson(126), Spezza(119), Michalek(92), Alfredsson(88)

Buffalo: Vanek(110), Pominville(106), Stafford(92), Ehrhoff(86)

Blocked Shots:

Ottawa: Phillips(83), Kuba(69), Cowen(40), Gonchar(35)

Buffalo: Regehr(57), Sekera(50), Ehrhoff(48), Leopold(45)

Hits:

Ottawa: Neil(106), Foligno(101), Cowen(96), Greening(75)

Buffalo: Regehr(93), Gaustad(65), Kaleta(49), Stafford(39)

Face-Off Wins:

Ottawa: Spezza(443), Z. Smith(251), J. Winchester(107), Konopka(104)

Buffalo: Roy(331), Gaustad(297), Pominville(109), Adam(102)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:

Ottawa: Craig Anderson 16-12-3 3.28 GAA .897 SV%

Buffalo:  Ryan Miller 9-10-2 3.05 GAA .901 SV% 1 SO

Notes:

Last Meeting: Dec 20 Senators Won 4-1

Season Series: Tied 2-1-1

All-Time: Sabres Lead 55-40-20

All-Time vs. OTT: Sabres Lead 30-19-5

Alfredsson’s 400th leads Sens past Flames in OT

Daniel Alfredsson couldn’t have picked a sweeter time to score his 400th NHL goal.

Alfredsson scored a power-play goal 3:31 into overtime, lifting the Ottawa Senators over the Calgary Flames, 4-3, in front of a sellout crowd of 20,500.

Nick Foligno, Zack Smith and Erik Karlsson also scored for the Senators, while Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross, Chris Butler had the goals for the Flames.

Craig Anderson, who replaced Alex Auld to start the second period, stopped 17 shots, while rookie Leland Irving stopped 45 of 49 in net for Calgary.

The Flames got off to a quick start just 23 seconds into the game when Auld came out to play the puck to Sergei Gonchar, who wasn’t expecting the pass. Bourque gained control and tipped it past the Ottawa goaltender for the early lead.

Calgary went up 2-0 with Ottawa forward Nick Foligno in the box for holding the stick. Jay Bouwmeester skated the puck past the net, then passed back to Glencross, who fired it past Auld at 6:25.

It was more bad luck for the Sens’ special teams — as of Friday, Ottawa had the second-worst penalty kill in the League at home, at 73 percent. The Senators have allowed seven power-play goals in their last six games overall.

The Flames would continue to pile on late in the period, when Butler’s seeing-eye wrister from the top of the circle at 18:49 beat Auld high stick-side for his first of the season, making the score 3-0. Anton Babchuk, back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a broken hand on Nov. 8, also had an assist on the goal.

That was enough for Auld, who was pulled in between periods, making way for Craig Anderson. Auld stopped 12 of 15 shots faced.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020552&navid=sb:recap

Ovi nets pair as Capitals skate past Sabres, 3-1

It hasn’t exactly been a banner year for Alex Ovechkin, but the Washington Capitals captain is working on ending it in stellar fashion.

Ovechkin scored twice Friday night and the Capitals gained ground in both the Eastern Conference and Southeast Division races with a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Verizon Center.

Nicklas Backstrom’s goal early in the second period turned out to be the game-winner and Tomas Vokoun stopped 25 shots for the Capitals, who avenged a 4-2 loss four days earlier in Buffalo in which they gave up all four goals in the opening 20 minutes.

Jochen Hecht had the only goal for the Sabres, who got 18 saves from Ryan Miller.

Ovechkin enters Saturday’s game in Columbus looking to extend his points streak to six straight to end 2011. It’s been a tumultuous year for both the captain and his team — Washington was swept out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the second round last spring by Tampa Bay, and a slow start this year led to Dale Hunter replacing Bruce Boudreau behind the bench. Meanwhile, Ovechkin followed up his worst season statistically in 2010-11 by scoring just 12 goals over his first 35 games this season.

A visit by Miller and the Sabres brought out the best in him Friday, however.

Buffalo defenseman Mike Weber was called for boarding just 27 seconds into the game, and on the ensuing power play Ovechkin received the puck from Vokoun and came flying down the right side of the ice. His attempted pass to Brooks Laich hit the stick of a Sabres defender and ricocheted past Miller at 1:42 to get Washington on the board.

It was the Capitals’ only goal of the first period, but they outshot the Sabres by an 11-2 margin.

The teams traded goals in the second, with Backstrom extending the Capitals’ lead to 2-0 at 3:52 before Hecht answered for the Sabres, cleaning up the rebound of a Thomas Vanek shot with 4:58 left before the intermission.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020551&navid=sb:recap

This Day In Sabres History:

December 5th, 1987 Sabres Trade Paul Cyr to NY Rangers for Mike Donnelly and 5th RD Pick in 1987 Draft

On This Date 24 Years ago the Sabres Trade former First Round Pick Paul Cyr to the New York Rangers for Mike Donnelly and a 5th RD Pick in the 1987 Draft. Cyr was a disappointment in his Sabres Career Recording 196 Points(85 G, 111 A) in 342 Career Games. The Sabres would trade him to the New York Rangers for Mike Donnelly and a 5th RD Pick in the 87 Draft. Donnelly didn’t do much in his career as a Sabres only playing in 34 games. The 5th RD Pick would turn into a future Sabre Hall of Famer Alexander Mogilny.

Injury Report:

Ottawa: Regin Left Shoulder(IR/Out), J. Winchester Concussion(Out)

Buffalo: Myers Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Gerbe Concussion(IR/Out), Leino Lower Body(IR/Out), Tropp Concussion(IR/Out), Stuart Lower Body(IR/Out), Ennis Left Ankle(Out), Sekera Upper Body(Out), Ehrhoff Upper Body(Out)

Next 5 Games:

Jan 3 vs. Edmonton Oilers 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Jan 6 at Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Jan 7 vs. Winnipeg Jets 7:00 PM(MSG HD, CBC HD)

Jan 10 at Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Jan 13 at Toronto Maple Leafs 7:30 PM(MSG HD, TSN HD)

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Sabres look to make it 3-0 this season in the Capital against Washingon

VS. 7:00PM

Last Game:
Washington: Dec 28 vs. Rangers-Capitals Won 4-1

Buffalo: Dec 28 @ Devils-Sabres Lost 3-1

Record:
Washington: 18-15-2
Buffalo: 17-16-3

Points:
Washington: 38
Buffalo: 37

Rank In Conference:
Washington: 10th
Buffalo: 11th

Power Play Ranking:
Washington: 16.8(19th)
Buffalo: 19.1(12th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:
Washington: 82.0(16th)
Buffalo: 84.1(10th)

Goals For:
Washington: 103(9th)
Buffalo: 95(T-17th)

Goals Against:
Washington: 104(T-19th)
Buffalo: 105(22nd)

Shots For:
Washington: 1025(23rd)
Buffalo: 1049(20th)

Shots Against:
Washington: 1036(7th)
Buffalo: 1124(19th)

Blocked Shots:
Washington: 472(23rd)
Buffalo: 455(26th)

Hits:
Washington:764(18th)
Buffalo: 635(29th)

Faceoff Percentage:
Washington: 50.9(10th)
Buffalo: 50.6(12th)

Team Leaders:
Goals:

Washington: Chimera(13), Backstrom and Ovechkin(12), Brouwer(10), Semin(9)
Buffalo: Vanek(18), Pominville(12), Adam(10), Roy(8), Leopold and Stafford(6)

Assists:
Washington: Backstrom(24), Wideman(18), Carlson(17), Ovechkin(15), Laich(13)
Buffalo: Pominville(26), Vanek(20), Roy(15), Ehrhoff(14) Stafford(13), Adam(10)

Points:
Washington: Backstrom(36), Ovechkin(27), Wideman(23), Carlson(22), Laich(21)
Buffalo: Pominville and Vanek(38), Roy(23), Adam(20), Stafford(19), Ehrhoff(17)

Plus/Minus:
Washington: Alzner(+14), Chimera(+9), Ward and Carlson(+6), Halpern(+4)
Buffalo: Gragnani(+11), Gerbe(+4), Hecht(+3), Vanek, Leopold, Kassian(+1)

Penalty Minutes:
Washington: Erskine(43), Semin(40), Hendricks(35), Backstrom(22)
Buffalo: Gaustad(61), Kaleta(52), Vanek(34), Stafford(32), McCormick(31)

Shots:
Washington: Ovechkin(133), Chimera(92), Laich(90), Backstrom(88)
Buffalo: Vanek(107), Pominville(104), Stafford(90), Ehrhoff(86), Roy(84)

Blocked Shots:
Washington: Hamrlik(61), Carlson(58), Alzner(54), Wideman(45)
Buffalo: Regehr(56), Sekera(50), Ehrhoff(47), Leopold(42)

Hits:
Washington: Brouwer(113), Ovechkin(98), Chimera(63), Hendricks(55), Laich(49)
Buffalo: Regehr(91), Gaustad(64), Kaleta(47), Stafford(36), McCormick(34)

Face-Off Wins:
Washington: Backstrom(278), Laich(256), Halpern(166), Johansson(135)
Buffalo: Roy(326), Gaustad(290), Pominville(106), Adam(101)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:
Washington: Tomas Vokoun 13-8-0 2.67 GAA .911 SV% 1 SO
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 8-7-1 2.54 GAA .918 SV% 1 SO

Notes:
Last Meeting: Dec 26 @ Buffalo-Sabres Won 4-2

Season Series: Sabres Lead 2-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 84-44-15
All-Time @ WSH: Sabres Lead 40-21-9

Injury Report:
Washington: Poti Strained Groin(IR/Out), Green Strained Groin(Out), Perreault Upper Body(Questionable)
Buffalo: Myers Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Boyes Knee(IR/Out), Gerbe Concussion(IR/Out), Leino Lower Body(IR/Out), Stuart Lower Body(IR/Out), Ennis Ankle(Questionalbe), Tropp Upper Body(IR/Out), Sekera Upper Body(Out)

Next 5 Games:
Dec 31 vs. Ottawa Senators 7:00PM(MSG HD, CBC)
Jan 3 vs. Edminton Oilers 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Jan 6 @ Carolina Hurricanes 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Jan 7 vs. Winnipeg Jets 7:00PM(MSG HD, CBC)
Jan 10 @ Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00PM(MSG HD, TSN)

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service

Sabres Head To The Rock To Take On The Devils

@ 7:00 PM

Last Game:

New Jersey: Dec 26 at Hurricanes Loss 4-2

Buffalo: Dec 26 vs. Capitals Win 4-2

Record:

New Jersey: 19-15-1

Buffalo: 17-15-3

Points:

New Jersey: 39

Buffalo: 37

Rank In Conference:

New Jersey: 7th

Buffalo: 10th

Power Play Ranking:

New Jersey: 13.6(26th)

Buffalo: 18.9(12th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:

New Jersey: 93.0(1st)

Buffalo: 83.8(10th)

Goals For:

New Jersey: 89(25th)

Buffalo: 94(T-16th)

Goals Against:

New Jersey: 102(T-17th)

Buffalo: 102(T-17th)

Shots For:

New Jersey: 973(27th)

Buffalo: 1026(20th)

Shots Against:

New Jersey: 973(3rd)

Buffalo: 1101(21st)

Blocked Shots:

New Jersey: 402(29th)

Buffalo: 447(26th)

Hits:

New Jersey: 722(22nd)

Buffalo: 624(29th)

Faceoff Percentage:

New Jersey: 47.4(T-27th)

Buffalo: 50.6(12th)

Team Leaders:

Goals:

New Jersey: Elias(13), Clarkson(12), Parise and Kovalchuk(11), Henrique and Zubrus(10)

Buffalo: Vanek(17), Pominville(12), Adam(10), Roy(8)

Assists:

New Jersey: Elias, Parise, and Henrique(17), Kovalchuk(16), Sykora and Larsson(11), Zubrus and A. Greene(9)

Buffalo: Pominville(26), Vanek(20), Roy(15), Ehrhoff(14)

Points:

New Jersey: Elias(30), Parise(28), Kovalchuk and Parise(27), Zubrus and Sykora(19)

Buffalo: Pominville(38), Vanek(37), Roy(23), Adam(20)

Plus/Minus:

New Jersey: Henrique(+6), Taormina(+2), Salvador, Josefson, and Urborn(+1), A. Greene and Sykora(EV)

Buffalo: Gragnani(+11), Hecht(+5), Gerbe(+4), Vanek(+3)

Penalty Minutes:

New Jersey: Clarkson(66), R. Carter(47), Janssen(40), Boulton(29)

Buffalo: Gaustad(51), Kaleta(42), Vanek(34), Stafford(32)

Shots:

New Jersey: Parise(128), Kovalchuk(113), Clarkson(94), Sykora(88)

Buffalo: Vanek(105), Pominville(99), Stafford(90), Ehrhoff(84)

Blocked Shots:

New Jersey: R. Carter(63), Fayne(41), Salvador(40), Henrique(35)

Buffalo: Regehr(56), Sekera(49), Ehrhoff(46), Leopold(42)

Hits:

New Jersey: R. Carter and Clarkson(81), Volchenkov(73), Henrique(46), Janssen(45)

Buffalo: Regehr(89), Gaustad(64), Kaleta(47), Gerbe(35)

Face-Off Wins:

New Jersey: Elias(269), Henrique(229), R. Carter(132), Zubrus(77)

Buffalo: Roy(319), Gaustad(286), Pominville(104), Adam(99)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:

New Jersey: Martin Brodeur 9-9-0 3.06 GAA .884 SV%

Buffalo:  Ryan Miller 9-8-2 3.05 GAA .904 SV% 1 SO

Notes:

Last Meeting: Nov 16 Devils Won 5-3

Season Series: Devils Lead 1-0-0

All-Time: Sabres Lead 68-43-22

All-Time at NJD: Sabres Lead 32-22-12

Ward scores in Carolina’s win against Devils

Cam Ward made 23 saves Monday night. He also provided some offense.

Ward was credited with a bizarre empty-net goal, helping the Carolina Hurricanes earn a 4-2 victory against the New Jersey Devils at the RBC Center.

Brandon Sutter had a shorthanded goal, Tuomo Ruutu and Anthony Stewart scored in the second period, and Tim Gleason and Tim Brent each had two assists for the Hurricanes, who have earned points in six of eight games.

“What I really like in the last six, seven games is that we’re a little bit more consistent,” new coach Kirk Muller said. “We’re not beating ourselves, for the most part, and the points that we have given away are things that we’ve done. So the last couple games, we’ve done a better job of that and we’ve been doing a lot of good things. We’re not quite there yet, but I think our confidence level’s starting to kick in, everyone’s starting to play a higher-tempo game and I think we’re skating better to play this type of tempo.”

Ward was awarded his first career goal when Ilya Kovalchuk’s errant pass for Adam Henrique from the end line wound up going the length of the ice and into an empty net with 29.4 seconds left. Officials initially awarded the goal to Sutter before a postgame review determined he never touched the puck.

“I don’t know how to explain it. I should make better decisions that that, definitely,” Kovalchuk said. “We find a way to make the game interesting and we were working hard, but a bad decision by me cost us the game.”

It was the first goal by a goaltender in the history of the franchise — including the Hartford Whalers.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020522&navid=sb:recap

Sabres end skid with win over Caps

The Buffalo Sabres used a fast start to get back on the right track Monday night.

Brayden McNabb capped Buffalo’s four-goal first period with his first NHL goal and the Sabres earned a 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals at the First Niagara Center.

Jason Pominville, Matt Ellis and Christian Ehrhoff also scored in the first period for the Sabres, who snapped a three-game skid to improve to 4-6-2 in their last 12 games. Ryan Miller made 20 saves in his sixth straight start.

Buffalo’s depth at forward was bolstered by the return of Jochen Hecht (foot) and Brad Boyes (ankle). They each contributed an assist.

“I thought that was a great example of the type of hockey we’ve been talking about for a while,” Miller said. “It was quick hockey, move the puck, and support each other. It showed in that first period where we got out of our zone clean, we got into their zone clean, we made things happen and got rewarded for it.”

Matt Hendricks and Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington, which fell to 1-2-1 in its last four and 5-6-1 under new coach Dale Hunter.

Michal Neuvirth started for the fifth straight time, but was pulled midway through the first period after allowing three goals on six shots. He was replaced by Tomas Vokoun, who allowed one goal on 17 shots.

Ovechkin’s power-play goal made it 4-2 with 10:09 left.

“They came out hard and we made bad decisions with the puck and gave up bad goals and it cost us,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. “After the Christmas break, it’s usually decided in the first period. We made bad decisions and gave up bad goals. It cost us the game.”

After falling behind by four in the first period, Washington broke through on Hendricks’ goal with 17 seconds left in the second period. Standing in front of Miller, he was able to deflect Mathieu Perreault’s shot from the high slot to make it 4-1 after two.

The Sabres struck first with a pair of goals on their first four shots. Pominville opened the scoring with a power-play goal 51 seconds in, converting Drew Stafford’s pass with a one-timer from the inner edge of the left circle. Buffalo was awarded a man advantage just nine seconds into the game, when Roman Hamrlik accidentally shot the puck into the seats.

“It changed the game,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We capitalized on the early power play and did a nice job early on in the game.”

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020520&navid=sb:recap

This Day In Sabres History:

December 27, 1991 Andreychuk and LaFontaine Score 2 Goals Each in 8-1 Beatdown of the Rival Bruins

On this date 20 years ago Pat LaFontaine and Dave Andreychuk scored twice in the Sabres 8-1 Rout of the rival Boston Bruins. Andreychuk lead the teams with 5 Points(2 G, 3 A) and LaFontaine had 4 Points(2 G, 2 A) on the night. Buffalo also got goals from Gord Donnelly, Alexander Mogilny, Brad May, and Randy Wood. 11 Sabres recorded at least 1 point on the night in the win. The only Bruin goal came from Peter Douis. The teams would split the Season Series 3-3-2 and would meet in the Playoffs later that season. The Bruins would knock the Sabres out of the playoffs winning the Series in 7.

Injury Report:

New Jersey: Josefson Right Clavicle Surgery(IR/Out), A. Greene Broken Toe(IR/Out), Larsson Personal(Questionable), Tallinder Back Spasms(Questionable)

Buffalo: Myers Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Gerbe Concussion(IR/Out), Leino Lower Body(IR/Out), Tropp Concussion(IR/Out), Stuart Lower Body(IR/Out), Ennis Left Ankle(Out)

Next 5 Games:

Dec 30 at Washington Capitals 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Dec 31 vs. Ottawa Senators 7:00 PM(MSG HD, CBC HD)

Jan 3 vs. Edmonton Oilers 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Jan 6 at Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Jan 7 vs. Winnipeg Jets 7:00 PM(MSG HD, CBC HD)

contact

Sabres in post-Christmas match-up versus Washington

vs. 7:00PM

Last Game:
Washington: Dec 23 @ New Jersey-Capitals Lost 3-4(SO)

Buffalo: Dec 22 @ Toronto-Sabres Lost 3-2

Record:
Washington: 17-14-2
Buffalo: 16-15-3

Points:
Washington: 36
Buffalo: 35

Rank In Conference:
Washington: 10th
Buffalo: 11th

Power Play Ranking:
Washington: 16.8(19th)
Buffalo: 18.1(14th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:
Washington: 82.2(16th)
Buffalo: 84.1(9th)

Goals For:
Washington: 97(10th)
Buffalo: 90(T-17th)

Goals Against:
Washington: 99(T-19th)
Buffalo: 100(21st)

Shots For:
Washington: 980(21st)
Buffalo: 1003(20th)

Shots Against:
Washington: 981(7th)
Buffalo: 1079(20th)

Blocked Shots:
Washington: 444(T-24th)
Buffalo: 432(26th)

Hits:
Washington:716(18th)
Buffalo: 605(29th)

Faceoff Percentage:
Washington: 51.1(8th)
Buffalo: 50.3(13th)

Team Leaders:
Goals:

Washington: Chimera(13), Backstrom(12), Ovechkin(11), Brouwer(9)
Buffalo: Vanek(17), Pominville(11), Adam(10), Roy(8), Leopold and Stafford(6)

Assists:
Washington: Backstrom(22), Wideman(17), Carlson(16), Ovechkin and Laich(13)
Buffalo: Pominville(26), Vanek(19), Roy and Ehrhoff(14) Stafford(11), Adam(10)

Points:
Washington: Backstrom(34), Ovechkin(24), Wideman(22), Laich and Carlson(21)
Buffalo: Pominville(37), Vanek(36), Roy(22), Adam(20), Stafford(17)

Plus/Minus:
Washington: Alzner(+12), Chimera(+9), Ward(+6), Carlson(+4)
Buffalo: Gragnani(+11), Hecht and Gerbe(+4), Vanek(+2)

Penalty Minutes:
Washington: Erskine(41), Semin(40), Hendricks(35), Backstrom(22)
Buffalo: Gaustad(51), Kaleta(38), Vanek(34), Stafford(32), McCormick(29)

Shots:
Washington: Ovechkin(126), Chimera(92), Backstrom and Laich(85)
Buffalo: Vanek(104), Pominville(97), Stafford(86), Ehrhoff and Roy(82)

Blocked Shots:
Washington: Hamrlik(56), Carlson(54), Alzner(50), Wideman(45)
Buffalo: Regehr(55), Sekera(49), Ehrhoff(42), Leopold(41)

Hits:
Washington: Brouwer(107), Ovechkin(89), Chimera(57), Laich(49)
Buffalo: Regehr(86), Gaustad(61), Kaleta(47), Stafford(35), Gerbe and McCormick(31)

Face-Off Wins:
Washington: Backstrom(278), Laich(256), Halpern(166), Johansson(135)
Buffalo: Roy(308), Gaustad(279), Pominville(101), Adam(96)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:
Washington: Tomas Vokoun 12-8-0 2.81 GAA .906 SV% 1 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 8-8-2 3.11 GAA .904 SV% 1 SO

Notes:
Last Meeting: Nov 26 @ Buffalo-Sabres Won 5-1

Season Series: Sabres Lead 1-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 83-44-15
All-Time @ BUF: Sabres Lead 43-23-6

Injury Report:
Washington: Poti Strained Groin(IR/Out), Beagle Concussion(IR/Out), Green Strained Groin(Out)
Buffalo: Myers Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Boyes Knee(IR/Out), Gerbe Concussion(IR/Out), Leino Lower Body(IR/Out), Stuart Lower Body(IR/Out), Vanek Undisclosed(Questionable), Ennis Ankle(Questionalbe), Tropp Upper Body(IR/Out)

Next 5 Games:
Dec 26 vs. Washington Capitals 7:00PM(MSG HD, RIS HD, NHLN)
Dec 28 @ New Jersey Devils 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Dec 30 @ Washington Capitals 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Dec 31 vs. Ottawa Senators 7:00PM(MSG HD, CBC)
Jan 3 vs. Edminton Oilers 7:00PM(MSG HD)

Pegula: Neophyte owner learning difficult lessons

Let’s just say the early luster of Terry Pegula’s ownership of the Buffalo Sabres has been wiped clean.  The same, stuck-in-the-mud, crappy product that’s been peddled since July 1st, 2007 remains intact.  No matter how much money you throw at the team, it’s the same, stale product.  The culture of the franchise needed to be changed.  The removal of the entire front office and coaching staff needed to take place this past summer.  It didn’t, and all of a sudden, the Terry Pegula era is quickly resembling Sabres’ ownership periods of the past decade.

What did happen instead was a lot of talk… the reference of making  the Sabres organization “Hockey Heaven”, whatever that means.  Buzzwords and things of that nature are shallow, “feel good” phrases.  It’s easier to create a level of “harmony”, fake or otherwise, than to make actual, concrete changes to a vanilla, tired franchise like the Sabres.

It’s one thing to purchase a sports franchise, it’s a whole different thing when you cannot see the changes needed to be made, or are unwilling to set your own foundation and your own direction, instead of simply inheriting a mediocre entity from the previous owner.

Instead of changing the current, entrenched regime, Pegula gave Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier his seal of approval.  When approached after the February press conference of the purchase of the team, Pegula stated (paraphrasing), “I didn’t hear anything negative about him”, in reference to Regier.  That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of your general manager.

Regier was like a kid in a candy store, with all sorts of money to use on bringing in free agents.  One glaring error was made in the acquisition of Ville Leino.  Just when the Sabres finally rid themselves of Tim Connolly, they go and bring in a player making less of an impact than Connolly, and they did it for a 6-year term.  Acquiring Leino is one move they should be regretting at this point.

The franchise has also retained its coddled nature, where accountability is still not part of the modus operandi in the day-to-day operations.  It’s difficult to be accountable when there’s no fear for one’s job security.  If fledgling defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani can’t be sent to the press box for his nightly miscues, then nobody needs to fear for their job security.

This is why, if the Sabres can’t change their ways this season and at least win one round in the playoffs, Pegula, Ted Black and Ken Sawyer should put together lists of individuals who would become the new general manager and new head coach of the team.  New front office and coaching hires wouldn’t be indebted to the tired core of Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Paul Gaustad, et al.  The era of the lack of accountability would be pushed aside, finally.

Terry Pegula purchased a hockey franchise that he has been a fan of for over 30 years.  He inherited the previous ownership’s front office and most of the coaching staff.  He was handed the remnants of 14 years of inconsistent results overseen by Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff.  Pegula shouldn’t feel indebted to retaining the duo if things don’t improve, in the same light that a new general manager and coach would make player personnel changes, because they wouldn’t be indebted to the current, listless roster.

Pegula, despite his usually congenial personality, let loose after the recent 8-3 debacle in Pittsburgh.  Going by what the mainstream media said, Pegula basically wondered if his aspiring tennis star daughter could have provided better goaltending than Ryan Miller.  Miller and Jason Pominville provided nonchalant responses.  The responses are not surprising coming from a team that plays and communicates with the media in a very aloof fashion.

The Sabres are indeed a franchise in need of a culture change.  I don’t expect major changes during this season, but another early playoff exit or a non-appearance in the postseason should seal the fates of Regier and Ruff and then the Sabres franchise can begin to truly change the culture and direction of the team.

 

 

forum

Sabres Head To ACC Hoping For Win Before Break Against Rival Maple Leafs

@ 7:00 PM

Last Game:

Toronto: Dec 19 vs. Kings Loss(SO) 3-2

Buffalo: Dec 20 vs. Senators Loss 4-1

Record:

Toronto: 16-13-4

Buffalo: 16-14-3

Points:

Toronto: 36

Buffalo: 35

Rank In Conference:

Toronto: 7th

Buffalo: 10th

Power Play Ranking:

Toronto: 21.4(2nd)

Buffalo: 18.2(12th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:

Toronto: 73.4(30th)

Buffalo: 83.3(T-10th)

Goals For:

Toronto: 99(8th)

Buffalo: 88(T-13th)

Goals Against:

Toronto: 106(26th)

Buffalo: 97(T-20th)

Shots For:

Toronto: 949(21st)

Buffalo: 961(19th)

Shots Against:

Toronto: 1023(20th)

Buffalo: 1048(26th)

Blocked Shots:

Toronto: 529(3rd)

Buffalo: 414(25th)

Hits:

Toronto: 748(11th)

Buffalo: 580(29th)

Faceoff Percentage:

Toronto: 50.5(T-12th)

Buffalo: 50.5(T-12th)

Team Leaders:

Goals:

Toronto: Kessel(19), Lupul(15), MacArthur(9), Grabovski(8)

Buffalo: Vanek(17), Pominville and Adam(10), Roy(7), Stafford and Leopold(6)

Assists:

Toronto: Lupul(21), Kessel(20), Liles(17), Bozak(16)

Buffalo: Pominville(25), Vanek(18), Roy and Ehrhoff(14), Stafford(11)

Points:

Toronto: Kessel(39), Lupul(36), Bozak(23), Liles(21)

Buffalo: Vanek and Pominville(35), Roy(21), Adam(20), Stafford(17)

Plus/Minus:

Toronto: Lupul, T. Connolly, Komisarek, and Kulemin(+3), Frattin, Liles, Bozak, and Franson(+2), L. Schenn, Colborne, Orr, and Kessel(+1), Phaneuf, Grabovski, M. Brown, Kadri, and Crabb(EV)

Buffalo: Gragnani(+11), Hecht and Gerbe(+4), Vanek and Gaustad(+3), Sekera(+2)

Penalty Minutes:

Toronto: Phaneuf(41), Lupul(34), M. Brown(31), L. Schenn(30)

Buffalo: Gaustad(49), Kaleta(34), Vanek(32), Stafford(30)

Shots:

Toronto: Kessel(117), Lupul(101), Phaneuf(86), Liles(67)

Buffalo: Vanek(104), Pominville(92), Stafford(82), Ehrhoff(78)

Blocked Shots:

Toronto: Gunnarsson(67), Liles(65), Phaneuf(58), L. Schenn(54)

Buffalo: Regehr(54), Sekera(47), Ehrhoff and Leopold(41), Myers(31)

Hits:

Toronto: L. Schenn(100), Phaneuf(68), Steckel(65), Lupul(47)

Buffalo: Regehr(81), Gaustad(59), Kaleta(45), Gerbe(35)

Face-Off Wins:

Toronto: Steckel(272), Bozak(252), Grabovski(177), T. Connolly(170)

Buffalo: Roy(298), Gaustad(272), Pominville(99), Adam(91)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:

Toronto: James Reimer 5-3-3 2.86 GAA .900 SV% 1 SO

Buffalo:  Ryan Miller 8-7-2 3.12 GAA .904 SV% 1 SO

Notes:

Last Meeting: Dec 17 Sabres Won 5-4

Season Series: Sabres Lead 1-0-0

All-Time: Sabres Lead 100-57-22

All-Time at TOR: Sabres Lead 41-32-15

Kings edge Leafs in shootout

Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown scored a power-play goal and the shootout winner and Jonathan Quick stopped 31 shots in a pulsating 3-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night.

The victory was a much needed one for the Kings, who had lost six of seven games. It evened the record of interim coach John Stevens at 2-2, with new bench boss Darryl Sutter expected to be officially introduced Tuesday.

Stevens, who is expected to be retained as an assistant, stressed the positives of the situation the new coach is inheriting.

“The one thing he can rest assured is that we have some quality people here to build around,” Stevens said of Sutter. “We’ve got a lot of good soldiers in the room there who are going to help us get out of this.”

Monday was a good first step towards turning things around. For the first time in 12 games, the League’s lowest-ranked offense scored 3 goals in a contest, peppering Leafs goaltender James Reimer with 42 shots.

Brown was particularly strong, leading the way with 6 shots on goal and 5 hits. The top line of Brown, Anze Kopitar and Simon Gagne was dangerous all night, sustaining puck possession in the Leafs’ zone and cycling to create multiple scoring chances.

“It’s important that we got two points,” Brown said. “For everyone, it’s been a long road trip — not only with the travel, but with everything that has gone on.”

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020482

Senators top struggling Sabres 4-1

Kyle Turris’ debut as an Ottawa Senators was a success.

The newest Senator had his first point of the season, setting up the first of Erik Condra’s two goals, as Ottawa beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place.

“It’s a great result,” said Turris, who was acquired from Phoenix on Saturday. “It felt great — it was really exciting coming in, and I started to feel better as the game went on and get my legs under me. I can (still) be a lot better. It felt really good (to hear the crowd). I’d like to thank everybody for the support. It felt like home.”

Turris, the third pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, set up Condra for the go-ahead goal at 7:59 of the third period. Turris fired from near the right faceoff dot, regained control of his own rebound and chopped it to Condra, who whacked the puck behind Ryan Miller to snap a 1-1 tie.

“(Erik) made a real nice pass to me on the wing and I just tried to get a shot off,” Turris said. “The rebound came right back to me and I tried to chop it over to Cons on the far post.”

The Senators (16-15-4) added a power-play goal by Erik Karlsson with 2:11 left in regulation and Condra hit the empty net 25 seconds later.

Buffalo (16-14-3) got its lone goal from defenseman Jordan Leopold scored the lone goal for Buffalo — his sixth of the season and third against Ottawa.

Craig Anderson stopped 22 of 23 shots for Ottawa, while Ryan Miller made 35 saves for the Sabres (16-14-3), who have dropped four of their last five — including a 3-2 overtime loss to the Senators in Buffalo a week earlier.

Despite the loss, coach Lindy Ruff was pleased with the play of his goaltender.

“I thought Ryan looked sharp,” he said. “He’s put in a lot of work over the past couple of days. It’s disappointing that we didn’t get a kick at it.”

Miller admitted that he has been feeling better and was happy to get the opportunity.

“I felt more like myself,” he said. “It was nice to stay in the game. I wanted to be there for the guys and I felt better – like I could give them a chance. It was a good step forward for myself. I just didn’t have it in Pittsburgh. I felt like I had it more tonight. It’s just too bad that we couldn’t grind it out.”

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020490&navid=sb:recap

This Day In Sabres History:

December 22nd, 1986 Sabres Hire Ted Sator as Head Coach

On This Day 25 years ago The Sabres hired Ted Sator to be the bench boss of the Buffalo Sabres. Sator replaced Craig Ramsey who was the Interim Coach that took over for Scotty Bowman. Sator first game coach would be the following night in Philadelphia which the Sabres won 2-1. Sator would coach until the end of the 1988-1989 season when he was fired after a first round exit. Sator Coached in 160 Regular Season Games going 75-67-18, but in 11 playoff games would go 3-8. Sator was replaced by former Sabre Rick Dudley for the 1989-1990 Season.

Injury Report:

Toronto: M. Brown Back Surgery(IR/Out), Lombardi Dislocated Shoulder(IR/Out), Komisarek Broken Arm(IR/Out), Armstrong Concussion/Foot(IR/Out), Ph. Dupuis Upper Body(IR/Out), Steckel Bronchitis(Questionable)

Buffalo: Myers Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Boyes Knee(IR/Out), Gerbe Concussion(IR/Out), Leino Lower Body(Out), Tropp Concussion(IR/Out), Hecht Lower Body(Out), Stuart Lower Body(IR/Out), Ennis Left Ankle(Out), Kaleta Groin(IR/Probable)

Next 5 Games:

Dec 26 vs. Washington Capitals 7:00 PM(MSG HD/NHLN CA)

Dec 28 at New Jersey Devils 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Dec 30 at Washington Capitals 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Dec 31 vs. Ottawa Senators 7:00 PM(MSG HD, CBC HD)

Jan 3 vs. Edmonton Oilers 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Sabres look to rebound in Ottawa after 8-3 blowout loss in Pittsburgh

vs. 7:00PM

Last Game:
Ottawa: Dec 16 vs. Penguins-Senators Won 6-4

Buffalo: Dec 17 @ Penguins-Sabres Lost 8-3

Record:
Ottawa: 15-14-4
Buffalo: 16-13-3

Points:
Ottawa: 34
Buffalo: 35

Rank In Conference:
Ottawa: 10th
Buffalo: 8th

Power Play Ranking:
Ottawa: 16.7(T-17th)
Buffalo: 18.0(13th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:
Ottawa: 80.0(24th)
Buffalo: 83.8(9th)

Goals For:
Ottawa: 99(T-7th)
Buffalo: 87(13th)

Goals Against:
Ottawa: 114(T-29th)
Buffalo: 93(19th)

Shots For:
Ottawa: 1021(9th)
Buffalo: 938(19th)

Shots Against:
Ottawa: 1045(28th)
Buffalo: 1009(20th)

Blocked Shots:
Ottawa: 449(T-14th)
Buffalo: 398(26th)

Hits:
Ottawa: 750(9th)
Buffalo: 558(29th)

Faceoff Percentage:
Ottawa: 49.5(T-18th)
Buffalo: 50.6(12th)

Team Leaders:
Goals:

Ottawa: Michalek(19), Spezza(12), Foligno(10), Alfredsson(9), Smith and Greening(8)
Buffalo: Vanek(17), Adam and Pominville(10), Roy(7), Stafford(6)

Assists:
Ottawa: Karlsson(27), Spezza(24), Gonchar(17), Alfredsson(12), Foligno(10)
Buffalo: Pominville(25), Vanek(17), Roy(14), Ehrhoff(13), Stafford(11), Adam(10)

Points:
Ottawa: Spezza(36), Karlsson(29), Michalek(25), Alfredsson(21), Foligno(20)
Buffalo: Pominville(35), Vanek(34), Roy(21), Adam(20), Stafford(17)

Plus/Minus:
Ottawa: Condra(+6), Smith(+4), Regin, Winchester, Kuba(+3)
Buffalo: Gragnani(+11), Vanek, Hecht, Gerbe, Gaustad(+4), Sekera and Szczechura(+2)

Penalty Minutes:
Ottawa: Konopka(106), Neil(64), Smith(40), Foligno(37), Greening(24)
Buffalo: Gaustad(47), Kaleta(34), Vanek(30), McCormick(29), Roy and Stafford(28)

Shots:
Ottawa: Karlsson(109), Spezza(101), Michalek(88), Greening(75), Alfredsson(74)
Buffalo: Vanek(104), Pominville(90), Stafford(81), Ehrhoff(75)

Blocked Shots:
Ottawa: Phillips(70), Kuba(52), Cowen(35), Lee(28), Condra and Gonchar(27)
Buffalo: Regehr(51), Sekera(46), Ehrhoff(41), Leopold(39)

Hits:
Ottawa: Foligno(92), Cowen(81), Neil(74), Greening(64), Phillips(56)
Buffalo: Regehr(80), Gaustad(57), Kaleta(45), Stafford(34), Gerbe(31)

Face-Off Wins:
Ottawa: Spezza(391), Smith(213), Winchester(107), Konopka(78), Da Costa(65)
Buffalo: Roy(287), Gaustad(264), Pominville(96), Adam(91)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:
Ottawa: Craig Anderson 13-11-2 3.42 GAA .894 SV% 0 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 8-6-2 3.12 GAA .902 SV% 1 SO

Notes:
Last Meeting: Dec 13 @ Buffalo-Senators Won 3-2(OT)

Season Series: Sabres Lead 2-0-1
All-Time: Sabres Lead 70-47-11
All-Time @ OTT: Sabres Lead 33-22-7

Injury Report:
Ottawa: Kuba Upper Body(Probable), Michalek Concussion(Doubtful), Foligno Lower Body(Questionable), Gonchar Upper Body(Probable)
Buffalo: Myers Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Boyes Knee(IR/Out), Kaleta Groin(IR/Out), Gerbe Concussion(IR/Out), Leino Lower Body(IR/Out), Stuart Lower Body(Out at least 1 month), Vanek Upper Body(Probable), Hecht Lower Body(Questionable), Ennis Ankle(Out), Tropp Upper Body(Questionable)

Next 5 Games:
Dec 22 @ Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Dec 26 vs. Washington Capitals 7:00PM(MSG HD, RIS HD, NHLN)
Dec 28 @ New Jersey Devils 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Dec 30 @ Washington Capitals 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Dec 31 vs. Ottawa Senators 7:00PM(MSG HD, CBC)

Sabres look for 2 in a row against Crosby-less Pittsburgh team

@ 7:00PM

Last Game:
Pittsburgh: Dec 16 @ Ottawa-Penguins Lost 6-4

Buffalo: Dec 16 vs. Maple Leafs-Sabres Won 5-4

Record:
Pittsburgh: 17-11-4
Buffalo: 16-12-3

Points:
Pittsburgh: 38
Buffalo: 35

Rank In Conference:
Pittsburgh: 5th
Buffalo: 6th

Power Play Ranking:
Pittsburgh: 18.3(t-9th)
Buffalo: 18.3(T-9th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:
Pittsburgh: 87.2(4th)
Buffalo: 85.7(8th)

Goals For:
Pittsburgh: 96(6th)
Buffalo: 84(T-11th)

Goals Against:
Pittsburgh: 83(14th)
Buffalo: 85(T-16th)

Shots For:
Pittsburgh: 1081(1st)
Buffalo: 919(17th)

Shots Against:
Pittsburgh: 887(7th)
Buffalo: 983(25th)

Blocked Shots:
Pittsburgh: 412(20th)
Buffalo: 376(27th)

Hits:
Pittsburgh: 723(9th)
Buffalo: 548(29th)

Faceoff Percentage:
Pittsburgh: 49.1(T-21st)
Buffalo: 50.9(T-10th)

Team Leaders:
Goals:

Pittsburgh: Neal(17), Malkin and Staal(12), Kunitz(10), Dupuis(9), Cooke(7)
Buffalo: Vanek(16), Pominville(10), Adam(9), Roy(7), Stafford(6)

Assists:
Pittsburgh: Malkin(19), Letang(16), Neal and Dupuis(13), Sullivan(11)
Buffalo: Pominville(24), Vanek(17), Roy(14), Ehrhoff(13), Adam and Stafford(10)

Points:
Pittsburgh: Malkin(31), Neal(30), Dupuis(22), Kunitz and Letang(19)
Buffalo: Pominville(34), Vanek(33), Roy(21), Adam(19), Stafford(16)

Plus/Minus:
Pittsburgh: Niskanen(+9), Crosby(+7), Dupuis(+6), Engelland and Letang(+5)
Buffalo: Gragnani(+12), Gerbe, Hecht, Vanek(+4), Szczechura and Leopold(+3)

Penalty Minutes:
Pittsburgh: Asham(35), Neal(26), Niskanen and Engelland(25), Malkin(22)
Buffalo: Gaustad(47), Kaleta(34), Vanek(30), McCormick(29), Roy and Stafford(28)

Shots:
Pittsburgh: Neal(132), Malkin(120), Kunitz(95), Dupuis(88), Kennedy(76)
Buffalo: Vanek(103), Pominville(88), Stafford(80), Ehrhoff(73), Roy(70)

Blocked Shots:
Pittsburgh: Martin(50), Engelland(47), Orpik(37), Letang(35), Michalek(33)
Buffalo: Regehr(49), Sekera(42), Ehrhoff(40), Leopold(34), Myers(31)

Hits:
Pittsburgh: Orpik(75), Kunitz(66), Engelland(62), Adams(61), Asham and Cooke(46)
Buffalo: Regehr(79), Gaustad(54), Kaleta(45), Stafford(33), Gerbe(31)

Face-Off Wins:
Pittsburgh: Staal(251), Malkin(164), Vitale(161), Park(116), Crosby(93)
Buffalo: Roy(276), Gaustad(260), Pominville(96), Adam(91), Hecht(59)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:
Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury 15-7-2 2.28 GAA .916 SV% 2 SO
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 8-6-1 2.43 GAA .922 SV% 1 SO

Notes:
Last Meeting: Oct 15 @ Pittsburgh-Sabres Won 3-2

Season Series: Buffalo Leads 1-0
All-Time: Pittsburgh Leads 77-63-35
All-Time @ PIT: Pittsburgh Leads 45-24-18

Injury Report:
Pittsburgh: Petersen Concussion(IR/Out), Strait Hyperextended Elbow(IR/Out), Lovejoy Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Jeffrey Knee(IR/Out), Michalek Concussion(IR/Out), Park Fractured Foot(IR/Out), Letang Broken Nose/Concussion(IR/Out), Crosby Concussion-like Symptoms(Out), Staal Lower Body(Questionable), Vitale Undisclosed(Probable), Bortuzzo Concussion-like Symptoms(Doubtful)
Buffalo: Myers Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Boyes Knee(IR/Out), Gerbe Concussion(IR/Out), Leino Lower Body(IR/Out), Tropp Upper Body(Questionable), Hecht Lower Body(Questionable), Kaleta Groin(IR/Questionable)

Next 5 Games:
Dec 20 at Ottawa Senators 7:30 PM(MSG HD, TSN HD)
Dec 22 at Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Dec 26 vs. Washington Capitals 7:00 PM(MSG HD/NHLN CA)
Dec 28 at New Jersey Devils 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Dec 30 vs. Washington Capitals 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

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Sabres Finish Up 5-Game Home Stand Against Rival Maple Leafs

@ 7:30 PM

Last Game:

Toronto: Dec 13 vs. Hurricanes Win(OT) 2-1

Buffalo: Dec 13 vs. Senators Loss(OT) 3-2

Record:

Toronto: 16-11-3

Buffalo: 15-12-3

Points:

Toronto: 35

Buffalo: 33

Rank In Conference:

Toronto: 6th

Buffalo: 7th

Power Play Ranking:

Toronto: 21.1(4th)

Buffalo: 16.5(T-16th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:

Toronto: 74.1(30th)

Buffalo: 86.4(T-7th)

Goals For:

Toronto: 90(8th)

Buffalo: 79(T-18th)

Goals Against:

Toronto: 94(T-24th)

Buffalo: 81(15th)

Shots For:

Toronto: 854(22nd)

Buffalo: 890(20th)

Shots Against:

Toronto: 916(17th)

Buffalo: 950(23rd)

Blocked Shots:

Toronto: 467(7th)

Buffalo: 361(T-27th)

Hits:

Toronto: 671(14th)

Buffalo: 527(29th)

Faceoff Percentage:

Toronto: 50.4(14th)

Buffalo: 50.9(T-10th)

Team Leaders:

Goals:

Toronto: Kessel(18), Lupul(13), MacArthur(9), Grabovski(7)

Buffalo: Vanek(14), Pominville(10), Adam(9), Roy(7)

Assists:

Toronto: Lupul(21), Kessel(18), Phaneuf(15), Liles(14)

Buffalo: Pominville(22), Vanek(15), Roy(13), Ehrhoff(12)

Points:

Toronto: Kessel(36), Lupul(34), Bozak and Phaneuf(18), Liles(17)

Buffalo: Pominville(32), Vanek(29), Roy(20), Adam(19)

Plus/Minus:

Toronto: Lupul(+6), L. Schenn and T. Connolly(+4), Komisarek(+3), Bozak, Kessel, and Kulemin(+2)

Buffalo: Gragnani(+11), Szczechura, Hecht, Vanek, Leopold, and Gerbe(+4), Sekera and Pominville(+2), Gaustad(+1)

Penalty Minutes:

Toronto: Lupul(32), M. Brown(31), L. Schenn and Komisarek(26), Phaneuf(24)

Buffalo: Gaustad(47), Kaleta(34), Vanek(30), McCormick(29)

Shots:

Toronto: Kessel(107), Lupul(87), Phaneuf(82), Liles(62)

Buffalo: Vanek(98), Pominville(83), Stafford(78), Ehrhoff(72)

Blocked Shots:

Toronto: Gunnarsson(56), Liles(55), Phaneuf(52), L. Schenn(49)

Buffalo: Regehr(48), Sekera(42), Ehrhoff(39), Myers(31)

Hits:

Toronto: L. Schenn(92), Steckel(63), Phaneuf(61), Lupul(39)

Buffalo: Regehr(79), Gaustad(51), Kaleta(45), Gerbe(32)

Face-Off Wins:

Toronto: Steckel(265), Bozak(215), Grabovski(161), T. Connolly(138)

Buffalo: Roy(269), Gaustad(244), Adam and Pominville(90), Hecht(59)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:

Toronto: James Reimer 5-2-2 2.75 GAA .900 SV% 1 SO

Buffalo:  Ryan Miller 7-6-2 2.81 GAA .912 SV% 1 SO

Notes:

Last Meeting: Mar 29 Maple Leafs Won 4-3

Season Series: Maple Leafs Won 3-2-1

All-Time: Sabres Lead 99-57-22

All-Time vs. TOR: Sabres Lead 58-25-7

Leafs top ‘Canes 2-1 in OT

Tim Connolly finally gave the Toronto Leafs the kind of offensive boost they’ve been waiting for.

Connolly, a free-agent signee this summer who’s been battling injuries all season, scored his second goal of the night 44 seconds into overtime Tuesday to give the Leafs a 2-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Connolly got his sixth goal of the season when he shoveled home a loose puck in the crease after Joffrey Lupul’s initial slapper squirted behind Cam Ward, who slammed his stick in disgust after the loss.

“I was just stretching along the far blue line and he did a great job of driving wide and shooting the puck. A lot of times in overtime that’s the best play, just to shoot it on net and then he crashed the net and I was able to pick up the loose change,” said Connolly whose last two-goal game came last Oct. 22 against Ottawa while he was a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

“Ward was doing a good job fronting pucks and stopping pucks, and we knew we were just going to have to grind it out and get a couple of ugly ones and that’s what we were able to do.”

Connolly’s heroics ended a game in which the 19,509 fans who packed the Air Canada Centre watched more than 55 minutes of scoreless hockey.

Connolly finally opened the scoring with 4:14 left in regulation. Clarke MacArthur shook off defenseman Derek Joslin by circling back to the blue line before firing a pass into a crowd to Ward’s right that Connolly deflected into the net.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson likes the depth that Connolly provides the club.

“Over his career, when he is healthy he has been a very good player, and that’s the goal here — to keep him healthy [so] he doesn’t have to play much, he plays 15 or 16 minutes,” Wilson said. “Having him [Mikhail] Grabovski and [Tyler] Bozak in the lineup and playing with different people, we’ve got a little bit of balance in terms of scoring.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020438

Cowen’s OT tally lifts Sens past Sabres

On a night that the Ottawa Senators’ best forward took the League lead in goals, it was a pair of defensemen who combined for the decisive tally.

Off a pass from fellow blueliner Erik Karlsson, rookie Jared Cowen netted the winner 45 seconds into overtime Tuesday to complete a 3-2 Ottawa comeback against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center – the Sens’ first win in seven matchups.

“I just went to the net and Karlsson saw me, a great pass and I just touched it in there,” Cowen said of his third career goal and first game-winner. “When I was going down, I was thinking it was a gamble, wasn’t sure if I should be there. Obviously it worked out.”

Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots for Ottawa (14-13-4, 32 points), who in addition to the six-game skid against their Northeast Division rivals also snapped a three-game season losing skid. Milan Michalek added a goal – his League-leading 19th of the season – but later left the game after he collided with teammate Erik Karlsson. Sens coach Paul MacLean said Michalek would be re-evaluated when the team returns to Ottawa, where they face Boston on Wednesday.

“He’s a big cog to our team,” Spezza said. “He’s a guy that works hard and makes a difference.”

Goalie Ryan Miller matched a career high with 41 saves, but it wasn’t enough for the Sabres (15-12-3, 33 points), who dropped to 2-5-3 in their last 10 on home ice.

“I’m tired of could-haves,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “It’s how poorly we defended the first goal and how we defended that overtime goal.”

Peter Regin tied it at 7:27 of the third period, when his long slap shot – his windup reached nearly to the Buffalo bench – from the right boards found its way past a heavily screened Miller. The goalie was frustrated with his team’s lack of continuity.

“It feels like it’s a little bit between the ears and the guys need to get that trust,” Miller said. “By the time you think through a situation, it’s gone. Hockey moves too quick. You have to be in the flow and right in the mix of the game.”

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020437&navid=sb:recap

This Day In Sabres History:

December 16, 2005 Briere and Drury Lead The Sabres To A 4-3 Overtime Win over Pittsburgh

On This Date 6 years ago Chris Drury and Daniel Briere lead the Sabres to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Teams traded goals back in forth in the 2nd Period Daniel Briere, Jochen Hecht, and Ales Kotalik tallied for the Sabres in the frame. The Penguins got goals from Maxim Ouellette and Ryan Malone. The Sabres would hold a 3-2 lead after the 2nd and for the Majority of the 3rd Period before Ziggy Palffy would tie the game for the Penguins with 2:17 left in the game. Chris Drury would net the winner for the Sabres in the Overtime Period on the Power Play just 1:32 in to give the Sabres the victory. The Win would give the Sabres a 21-10-1 record after 32 Games Played. Martin Biron got the win which was his 10th in a row during an 11 game win streak.

Injury Report:

Toronto: M. Brown Back Surgery(IR/Out), Lombardi Dislocated Shoulder(IR/Out), Komisarek Broken Arm(IR/Out)

Buffalo: Myers Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Boyes Knee(IR/Out), Gerbe Concussion(IR/Out), Leino Lower Body(Out), Tropp Concussion(Questionable), Hecht Lower Body(Questionable), Kaleta Groin(IR/Probable)

Next 5 Games:

Dec 17 at Pittsburgh Penguins 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Dec 20 at Ottawa Senators 7:30 PM(MSG HD, TSN HD)

Dec 22 at Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Dec 26 vs. Washington Capitals 7:00 PM(MSG HD/NHLN CA)

Dec 28 at New Jersey Devils 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

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