The Sabres came off their break with a strong performance beating The Montreal Canadiens 3-1. The Game didn’t get off to the Start the Sabres were hoping when Max Pacioretty got behind the Sabres defense and went on a Break Away. Miller was able to stop Pacioretty on his first try, but couldn’t stop the 2nd shot. Ryan Miller will slam the door the rest of the way. The Sabres would get on the board 4 minutes into the 2nd Period when Ville Leino sniped Montreal Goaltender Carey Price on a great wrist shot. The Sabres outshot the Canadiens 30-16 after 2 periods of play and dominated the play. Paul Gaustad would net his 5th of the season when a Brad Boyes shot went in off of his leg. Patrick Kaleta would cap off the scoring with the empty netter with 52 seconds left. Ryan Miller tied Dominik Hasek Sabres Win Record making 27 Saves on the Night. Carey Price was equally as good making 37 saves on the night in a losing effort. Paul Gaustad had his best game of the night recording 3 points on the night. Tyler Ennis also Returned to the Lineup and had a very impressive game. The only bad news for the Sabres is that they lost their leading goalscorer Thomas Vanek to an upper body injury. Coach Lindy Ruff said that he would be out at least a week with the injury.
Sabres return to action tomorrow night against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. Game Time is 7:30 PM and can be seen on NBCS HD. You can listen to RJ, Harry Neale, and Rob Ray on WGR 550.
Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:
Montreal: Carey Price 17-17-8 2.40 GAA .914 SV% 2 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 12-15-2 3.07 GAA .899 SV% 1 SO
Last Meeting: Nov. 11 @ Montreal-Sabres Won 3-2(SO)
Season Series: Sabres Lead 2-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 130-118-31
All-Time at MTL: Canadiens Lead 78-48-12
Montreal: Moen Undisclosed(Out), Nokelainen Undisclosed(Out), Gionta Arm(Out), White Groin(Out), Markov Knee(Out)
Buffalo: Stuart Lower Body(IR/Out), Ennis Left Ankle(Probable), Sekera Upper Body(Out), McNabb Concussion(IR/Out), Gaustad Upper Body(Possible), Hecht Concussion(IR/Out)
Next 5 Games:
Feb 1 vs. New York Rangers 7:30 PM(NBCS HD and TSN2 HD)
Feb 4 at New York Islanders 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Feb 8 vs. Boston Bruins 7:30 PM(NBCS HD TSN2 HD)
Feb 10 vs. Dallas Stars 7:30 PM(MSG HD)
Feb 11 vs. Tamp Bay Lightning 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Ryan Miller and The Buffalo Sabres finished up their 1st Half of the Regular Season on a good note beating the New Jersey Devils. The Game saw the return to the lineup by Defensemen’s Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr. The Sabres jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st Period on a Lucky Bounce. Nathan Gerbe took a slap shot from the top of the Right Faceoff Circle that went over the net, it hit a stantion and popped out to Jordan Leopold who had a yawning net to shoot at. The Devils will tie the game after Derek Roy would take his 2nd Penalty in a 3 minute span. Patrick Elias would recover a loose puck that hit Sabres Defensemen Tyler Myers in the lower Abdomen. The game would go to a shootout after a scoreless 3rd and Overtime Period. Ilya Kovalchuk would put the Devils in the lead in the 1st Round of the Shootout. Ryan Miller would slam the door the rest of the way stopping Devils snipers Zack Parise, Patrick Elias, and Adam Henrique. Jason Pominville would tie the shootout in the final round and Nathan Gerbe would score in the following round to snap the Sabres 12 Game Road Losing Streak. Ryan Miller was fabulous making 27 Saves on the night netting his 12th win of the Season. Martin Brodeur had an easy night stopping 14 Sabres shots in the loss.
The Sabres finish up the 1st half with a disappointing 20-24-5 record which has them in a 4-way tie for 12th in the Eastern Conference. Lindy Ruff gave some bad news on the injury front after the game saying that Jochen Hecht has concussion like symptoms which will land him on the injury list for the foreseeable future. This would be Hecht’s 3rd Concussion in a year. Sabres are however expected to get Tyler Ennis and Paul Gaustad back in the lineup next week when they take on the Montreal Canadiens.
Sabres have another busy week next week after the break. Next Tuesday the Sabres head to Montreal for the final time this season to take on Carey Price and The Montreal Canadiens. Face-off is at 7:30 PM and can be seen on MSG HD.
New Jersey: Martin Brodeur 14-12-1 2.84 GAA .893 SV%
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 11-15-2 3.15 GAA .897 SV% 1 SO
Last Meeting: Dec 28 Devils Win 3-1
Season Series: Devils Lead 2-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 68-44-22
All-Time at NJD: Sabres Lead 32-22-12
Hartnell, Bryzgalov lead Flyers past rival Devils
A little attitude adjustment from coach Peter Laviolette was just what the Philadelphia Flyers needed Saturday in a 4-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.
Despite losing forwards Jaromir Jagr (lower body), Danny Briere (concussion) and Zac Rinaldo (upper body) to injuries during the course of the game, the Flyers (28-14-4) rallied behind several inspiring efforts. At the top of that list was Scott Hartnell, who scored a pair of power-play goals.
“I think we got off to a slow start in that first period … there wasn’t much flow and it wasn’t our best effort,” Hartnell said. “In the second period, after that timeout, we started playing with some jam. We started banging bodies and cycling – playing Flyers hockey and were able to get momentum, get the lead and we never looked back.”
The timeout Hartnell was referring to came 3:07 into the second. The game was scoreless at the time, but the Flyers were being outshot 10-4 — and Laviolette was obviously agitated.
“I think when you see a team playing a certain level, you know what they’re capable of and we weren’t where we needed to be,” Laviolette said. “New Jersey has really done a good job of climbing back into the top of the conference by playing a certain way, aggressive and competitive.”
The Devils outshot the Flyers 31-20 but finished 0-for-6 on the power-play. The Flyers went 2-for-5 with the man advantage. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who was making his fourth straight start, made 16 saves.
“You have to be able to match that and we just were a little bit short of that in the first 24 minutes of the game,” Laviolette said. “It was really nice to see us get physical and competitive and, really, play with more attitude. It’s all about attitude, and they all stepped up in a big way for the win … a tough win on the road.”
After the timeout the Flyers turned it on, scoring four goals on 16 shots to close out the game. Wayne Simmonds struck for the first three-point game (two assists) of his career and Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves in the triumph, the fourth in six games for the Flyers.
“[Simmonds] is a beast on the boards and in getting pucks out,” Hartnell said. “He has those long legs out on the fore check and makes some great plays down low in the corners and in the trenches. It’s not easy work; it’s hard to find guys like that that who love to take hits to make plays.”
Blues knock off slumping Sabres, 4-2
Knowing that the Buffalo Sabres were talented and capable enough to snap out of their road woes, the St. Louis Blues turned to their captain to make sure that never materialized.
With the ‘C’ on his front, David Backes put the Blues on his back, scoring two goals and two assists even after taking a nasty spill that had the 19,150 on hand holding their collective breath. His four-point night matched a career high, and St. Louis continued its reign at Scottrade Center in a 4-2 win over the Sabres.
“We had a lot of good players today, led by our captain,” marveled Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team jumped into fourth place in the Western Conference, one point behind leaders Detroit. “I thought our captain and that line (with David Perron and T.J. Oshie) really led us.
“David came back just like a bear and really went to work there. He was a major reason we won the hockey game today. Not just points-wise but disposition on the ice, intensity. I thought he really dragged us into the fight.”
Backes’ power-play goal 11:35 into the third period gave the Blues the separation they needed, pushing a one-goal lead to 3-1 and the stingiest team in the Western Conference was able to thwart off any rally by the Sabres, who fell to 19-24-5 and suffered a franchise-worst 12th straight road defeat.
“I get credit for the goal, but I just move it about three inches,” Backes said. “Osh is in front of the net taking some abuse. (Alex Pietrangelo) gets the shot through, the goalie never sees it and it’s sitting on the goal line for me. Those guys deserve more credit than I do on that one. Our power play comes through when we need it. Critical game at home, we need to get two points and we were able to do that.
“I wasn’t feeling too great (after being tripped by Marc-Andre Gragnani), but the training staff does a good job of putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Thankfully my full speed isn’t that fast.”
January 24, 1978 Martin and Perrault Dazzle in Buffalo’s Only NHL All-Star Game
On This Date 34 Years ago The City of Buffalo hosted its only NHL All-Star Game to date. The Campbell Conference jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the First Period on Goals from Bill Barber and Denis Potvin. The Wales Conference would get on the board in the 2nd Period on a Darryl Sittler Power Play Goal. The Sabres representatives would step up from there when Rick Martin would tie the game with 1:39 left in regulation time to tie the game for the Wales Conference. Then Buffalo’s First Ever Draft Pick Gilbert Perrault would net the Game Winner for the Wales Conference with 1:05 left in the Game. New York Islander and Campbell Conference Starting Goaltender Billy Smith would win the MVP award.
New Jersey: Greene Broken Toe(IR/Out), Zajac Strained Left Achilles(IR/Out), Tallinder Blood Clot in Leg(IR/Out)
St. Louis: Jaroslav Halak 13-7-5 2.00 GAA .920 SV% 4 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 11-14-2 3.16 GAA .897 SV% 1 SO
Last Meeting: Feb 18, 2011 Blues Won 3-0
Season Series: Blues Won 1-0-0
All-Time: Blues Lead 47-45-15
All-Time at STL: Blues Lead 28-15-9
Blues blank Oilers 1-0
Even when they’re not at their best, the St. Louis Blues keep finding ways to win.
On Thursday night, the Blues thought they let the Edmonton Oilers hang around just long enough to steal a rare two points at Scottrade Center.
But the Blues – a team that just doesn’t allow much defensively – allowed almost nothing, and the Blues prevailed 1-0 thanks to a decisive third-period goal from Alex Pietrangelo.
The Blues (28-12-6) momentarily jumped into first overall in the Western Conference with 62 points but were quickly bumped back to fourth place after the Detroit Red Wings’ shootout win in Phoenix, which gives the Wings 63 points.
Pietrangelo, who now has a team-best four game-winning goals and extended his career-best points streak to eight, won it when he curled around the Oilers goal and slid a shot past netminder Nikolai Khabibulin with 5:14 to play.
“I had a couple chances that shift,” Pietrangelo said. “(David Backes) made an unbelievable pass. I can’t believe he found me. Lucky enough, the puck ended up being behind the net. I was just kind of able to give it the old-fashioned wrap-around.”
Jaroslav Halak earned his second straight shutout and third in four games, extending his shutout streak to 148:25. Halak stopped 15 shots and is 10-0-3 in his last 13 starts after earning his fourth shutout of the season and 20th of his career. He was also in goal for the Blues’ last game, a 1-0 home win against Dallas on Monday.
“I feel good, but when you look at the shots, I didn’t have to stop many shots, many scoring chances tonight,” said Halak, who is 13-7-5 on the season with a 2.00 goals-against average and .920 save percentage. “Every game is a different game. The guys are playing really good hockey right now and hopefully we can at least keep doing it until the All-Star break.”
The surging Blues improved to 7-0-1 in their last eight games. They’ve earned at least a point in a franchise-best 14 straight home games (12-0-2). St. Louis became the first team to win 20 home games (20-3-3).
The Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets both found themselves in desperate predicaments as they began play on Thursday night.
Both clubs have endured a trying month and desperately needed two points. But the Jets (22-20-5) opened the scoring, put 30 shots on Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller by the second intermission and used a pair of power-play goals to beat the crumbling Sabres 4-1 before 15,004 at the MTS Centre.
Winnipeg defenseman Tobias Enstrom extended his goal-scoring streak to a career-best three games when he notched the Jets’ first power-play tally in five games to snap a 1-1 tie at 12:55 of the second period. Tim Stapleton connected for another power-play goal just under four minutes into the third period before Nik Antropov iced it by scoring with 1:20 left in regulation.
“It was big,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd, who scored Winnipeg’s first goal. “They’re all big right now, especially [against] a team right behind us in a game that we feel we should win.”
Buffalo (19-23-5) has lost all four games thus far on its seven-game trip and has dropped 11 in a row away from home in a season that has unraveled over the past month. The Sabres are now anchored nine points off the pace of eighth-place Florida, who has two games in hand on Buffalo.
“We knew going into tonight’s game that it might be the toughest game of the whole segment,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “It was back-to-back, and it’s five in seven, and we’re getting a little shorthanded.”
The win held the Jets, who ended a two-game skid on home ice, within striking distance of first place in the Southeast Division, three points behind the Washington Capitals. The win also sets up a crucial Saturday night date with Florida at the MTS Centre before the Jets embark on a six-game road trip that extends into February.
Picking up two points satisfied Jets coach Claude Noel, though he acknowledged that his club has a lot of areas of its game that need to be cleaned up if it is to mount a serious playoff run in the coming weeks.
“I think we were a little bit fortunate,” Noel said. “We’ve got some work to do here. We’ve got some work to do because you are not going to win a lot games that way.”
Miller finished with 29 saves in his first start since Detroit knocked him out in the second period in a 5-0 loss on Monday. Counterpart Ondrej Pavelec stopped all but one of the 26 shots that he faced.
January 21, 1989 Turgeon Leads Sabres Comeback over Rival Bruins to capture Sabres 6th Straight Road Win
On this date 23 years ago Pierre Turgeon Led a Sabres comeback over the Rival Boston Bruins in a Sabres 6-5 win. The Sabres found themselves down by 4 goals during the game. Turgeon scored twice on the night including the Game Winner 4 Minutes into Overtime. Sabres also got goals from Dave Andreychuk, Rick Vaive, Jeff Parker, and Doug Bodger. Jacques Cloutier got the win for the Sabres on this night in relief of Darren Puppa. The win was the Sabres 6th in a row on the road. The Sabres would stretch there streak to 9 games. The Bruins would get the last laugh however eliminating the Sabres from the playoffs for the 2nd straight season.
St. Louis: MacDonald Concussion(IR/Out), Huskins Bruised Left Ankle(IR/Out), Steen Concussion-Like Symptoms(IR/Out)
Over the past few years, any time the Sabres have put together a clunker on par with any of the first three games of their current road trip, the team’s responses to fans and media have always centered on a familiar buzz-word, “the system.” Losses are blamed on straying from it; and returning to its structure is on par with “going to the dirty areas” and “getting pucks to the net” as cliched press conference phrases on how to get the team back on track. But what exactly is the system that Lindy Ruff has touted for the past two and a half seasons?
The answer is a blend of puck possession offense and collapsing defense. Offensively, this strategy looks to wear down the opposition down low on the cycle, maintain zone time through an active, pinching defense corps and eventually get pucks through to the net. On defense, the game plan is to keep the puck to the perimeter, allowing a higher-than-average number of shots, but few quality scoring chances.
Unfortunately, theory doesn’t always work out in practice, and the Sabres are struggling on both sides of the ice. They sit twenty fourth and twenty fifth in goals for and against, and haven’t won consecutive games in two months. Most recently, the Sabres extended their franchise record road losing streak to a shocking eleven games with a loss last night to the Winnipeg Jets. They’re a below average puck possession team, ranking nineteenth in both shots and takeaways, and judging by their abysmal goals against average, their fifth-worst 31.5 shots allowed are juicier opportunities than their defensive scheme should allow.
The Sabres’ offensive struggles can be pinned on an inability to establish their cycle. Part of this is because the team lacks a power forward on their top lines, but just as much blame lies at Ruff’s feet, namely, his unwillingness to emphasize pressure and physicality. The coach prefers a positional game to a passionate one, and it’s very evident with quotes such as this:
“You want to be physical? It’s got to be puck battles, who comes up with it. You can run around and hit all you want. If you don’t get the puck back, it doesn’t do any good.”
What’s so surprising about this attitude is that Lindy has seen first hand what physicality for physicality’s sake can do. Opposing teams have had field days sending two forwards below the goal line to rush the Sabres’ decision making. It’s clearly been an effective strategy, because in addition to their abysmal defensive statistics, Buffalo is also top ten in giveaways. Even Detroit and Chicago, teams not known for their physical edges, terrorized the Sabres defense with their relentless pressure this past week, with the Red Wings announcers literally laughing the Sabres off the ice. A supposedly impartial NBC Sports telecast wasn’t much nicer.
Another reason for the Sabres’ inability to put the puck in the net is Ruff’s insistence on balancing icetime. Only two forwards, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville have exhibited any sort of offensive consistency, yet they’ve sunk to sixth and fifth in even strength TOI, behind Jochen Hecht, Derek Roy,Ville Leino and Drew Stafford, who haven’t scored more than the Sabres’ first line wingers combined. Compared to the rest of the league, Buffalo’s overwhelmingly best forwards play significantly less than other top liners. Even middling players like Tomas Fleischmann and enigmas like Danny Heatley play an average of over a minute and a half more at even strength.
At the other end of the ice, Buffalo’s defensive struggles are occurring because even with a healthy defense corps, Ruff simply doesn’t have the horses to play the system he has in place. While the collapse has its merits, and namely, the Bruins use it to great effect, Boston has several attributes that allow them to play such a style of hockey.
The Bruins have an aggressive goaltender in Tim Thomas who constantly makes the first save without spitting out costly rebounds. They have a defense littered with neaderthalic defensemen, who aren’t great in space or transition, but will maul anyone who gets too close to the crease. They have a Selke-caliber defensive center in Patrice Bergeron. They wear opponents down with their physicality in all three zones and have a crushing cycle game, so even when you get a shift in their zone, you’re not in the best shape to do something with it. They also aren’t afraid to cross the line to send a message.
Buffalo, on the other hand, currently has a starting goaltender with poor rebound control and a worse save percentage. Their defense is mostly mobile guys who defend more with positioning and sticks than with the body. Their best defensive forward is Jochen Hecht. They have issues establishing the cycle and as already mentioned, their coach doesn’t emphasize physical play. They also don’t stand up for each other and would rather take the power play than retaliate in kind (a problem for another column).
This is a team that wants to spend as little time in its own end as possible, and with a stable of good passing and puck rushing defensemen, they have the personnel to play that kind of system effectively. Their mid-season turnaround last year had a lot to do with Lindy ditching his focus on positional puck possession and transitioning to a more attacking style of hockey that resulted in a lot of goals scored in transition. If Terry Pegula and Ted Black aren’t going to show Lindy the door after this most recent stretch of play, the least he can do is return to playing to the strengths of this roster and putting “the system” back on the shelf.
Next 5 Games:
Jan 21 at St. Louis Blues 8:00 PM(MSG HD)
Jan 24 at New Jersey Devils 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Jan 31 at Montreal Canadiens 7:30PM(MSG HD/RDS HD)
Feb 1 vs. New York Rangers 7:30PM(NBCS HD/TSN2 HD)
Feb 4 at New York Islanders 7:00PM(MSG HD)
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 11-13-2 3.12 GAA .898 SV% 1 SO
Last Meeting: Oct 16, 2010 Blackhawks Won 4-3
Season Series: Blackhawks Won 2-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 53-44-13
All-Time at CHI: Blackhawks Lead 29-19-6
Hawks hold off Sharks 4-3
So far, the Chicago Blackhawks have picked up the slack nicely for injured star forward Patrick Sharp and it’s not just the remaining big guns who are responsible.
Sunday night’s 4-3 win against the San Jose Sharks in front of 21,645 at the United Center was the latest example, as Chicago’s top line centered by star captain Jonathan Toews was dominant and cleared the path for a trio of secondary scorers to remain red hot.
Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg and rookie Andrew Shaw each scored goals for the Hawks (27-13-6), while rookie Jimmy Hayes assisted on Bolland’s goal to continue torrid stretches for each of them that began around the time Sharp got hurt Jan. 8 against the Detroit Red Wings.
“As a group, you try to fill the void,” Stalberg said of Sharp’s absence, which could last a few more weeks. “He’s been one of our top guys all year and for the past couple years. The guys who came up from (the minors) are playing great. Shaw and Hayes are doing a great job filling those holes and we’ve got enough talent to score still, even without Sharpie. Tonight was a pretty full effort from us.”
Bolland now has five goals in the past five games, Stalberg has five in the last four and 14 for the season, Hayes has three goals and two assists in nine games and Shaw – taken in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Draft (No. 139) — has scored four times in seven games since being called up.
“Coming into the NHL you don’t expect to get four goals in seven games, so it’s just a bonus,” said Shaw, who was passed over in his first two draft-eligible years and lasted a long time in last June’s draft. “I’ve always played a high-energy game, so the pace is a little bit faster – but I feel comfortable playing that way and also playing with better players. It’s easier to play with them.”
One of those “better players,” is Toews, whose 24th goal gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead in the second period just five minutes after San Jose erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring twice within the first 2:08 of the period – just 26 seconds apart.
Wings set franchise record with 15 straight home wins
It was one of those matchups that begged for a contrarian’s point of view.
When you looked at the statistics, the Buffalo Sabres had no business beating the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night at Joe Louis Arena. Everything was tilted in the Wings’ favor, and yet there was still a feeling like Buffalo might somehow pull off an upset win.
“It’s scary isn’t it?” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said after Monday’s morning skate, when Detroit’s 14-game home winning streak was compared with the eight-game road skid the Sabres carried into the contest. “You can look at what you did over the last 15 or what they did … to me, that doesn’t make any difference. The onus on us is to play a real good game. You’ve got to find a way to win.”
And that’s exactly what Detroit did in a 5-0 blowout win, which turned out to be a lot scarier for the Sabres (19-21-5) – whose frustrations boiled over in the locker room afterward.
Down the hall, the Red Wings (29-15-1) celebrated the new franchise record they set by winning a 15th straight game on home ice and improving to 18-2-1 overall this season at Joe Louis Arena.
“It’s something special,” said Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who scored a goal for the first time in nine games and finished with a plus-3 rating for the game. “The last time it was done was back in the mid-’60s, 1965, I believe. It’s a special record, especially with all the great teams that we’ve had here over the years, over the last two decades going back to the ’90s when we had some great teams and the early 2000s, too. We had some solid teams. It’s a special moment to do this in the middle of the season.”
Evidently, they didn’t worry too much about the contrarian’s point of view.
“I think we’re being more aggressive (at home),” Lidstrom said. “I think we’re going after the puck a little bit more and going after other teams a little bit more, too. That’s been paying off for us. For whatever reason, we’ve been playing more relaxed here at home, too.”
January 18, 2008 Derek Roy and Drew Stafford Hat-Tricks Leads Sabres To 10-1 victory over Atlanta Thrashers
On This Date 4 Years ago Derek Roy and Drew Stafford Led The Sabres Offensive Explosion Scored 3 Times in a 10-1 beatdown of the Thrashers. Roy got his Hat-Trick in the 2nd Period to give the Sabres a 6-1 lead. Stafford’s hatter came in the 3rd. Buffalo also got goals from Daniel Paille, Ales Kotalik, Jochen Hecht, and Thomas Vanek. The win was the Sabres 20th of the season which they would end up missing the playoffs for the second straight season. The Sabres haven’t hit the 10 goal mark since.
Chicago: Sharp Hand/Wrist(IR/Out), Carcillo Left Knee Surgery(IR/Out)
Buffalo: Stuart Lower Body(IR/Out), Ennis Left Ankle(Out), Sekera Upper Body(Out), Ehrhoff Upper Body(Out), McNabb Concussion(Out), Regehr Upper Body(Out)
Next 5 Games:
Jan 19 at Winnipeg Jets 8:30 PM(MSG HD, TSN HD)
Jan 21 at St. Louis Blues 8:00 PM(MSG HD)
Jan 24 at New Jersey Devils 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Jan 31 at Montreal Canadiens 7:30(MSG HD)
Feb 1 vs. New York Rangers 7:30(NBCS HD and TSN2 HD)
Next 5 Games:
Jan 18 at Chicago Blackhawks 7:30 PM(NBCSP HD, TSN2)
Jan 19 at Winnipeg Jets 8:30 PM(MSG HD, TSN HD)
Jan 21 at St. Louis Blues 8:00 PM(MSG HD)
Jan 24 at New Jersey Devils 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Jan 31 at Montreal Canadiens 7:30 PM(MSG HD, RDS HD)
NY Islanders: Evgeni Nabokov 6-10-0 2.66 GAA .910 SV%
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 8-7-3 2.46 GAA .923 SV% 1 SO
Last Meeting: Nov 29 Islanders Won 2-1
Season Series: Islanders Lead 1-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 71-54-22
All-Time at NYI: Tied 31-31-11
Flyers continue dominance of Islanders in 3-2 victory
No matter how well the New York Islanders play against the Philadelphia Flyers, they simply can’t find a way to beat them.
The evidence was on full display Thursday night.
Despite outplaying Philadelphia for much of the game, the Islanders were once again stymied by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 33 saves and improved to 7-0-0 lifetime against New York in the Flyers’ 3-2 victory at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
With the loss, the Islanders are once again five games under the .500 mark (15-20-6) and are 1-18-5 against Philadelphia since the end of the 2006-07 season.
Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers (26-12-4), who will go for their third straight victory Saturday night at Nashville.
“I don’t know what it is,” Hartnell said when asked to explain Philadelphia’s remarkable success against the Islanders. “It’s been a lot of games — I don’t know if in a row, but 24, 25 I think it is. Some teams just have a team’s number. They haven’t had the best team success the last few years since I’ve been around. I don’t want to say it’s been easy, but when you have confidence coming into the building and you have a feeling you’re going to win, it’s a great feeling to have.”
Hartnell broke a scoreless tie via the power play at 17:20 of the opening period. Shortly after goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was whistled for tripping, Hartnell redirected Jaromir Jagr’s feed from the bottom of the right circle past the Isles’ goaltender to make it 1-0. It was Hartnell’s 19th goal of the season and Jagr’s 83rd career assist against the Islanders.
Philadelphia took the one-goal lead into the first intermission despite being outshot by a 12-8 margin.
“It’s frustrating for the guys,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said. “This is one that I really thought we played well. We came out slow in the first five or six minutes and didn’t generate what we wanted to generate. But after that, I thought we played extremely well.”
With a seven-game road trip staring them in the face, Friday night’s visit from the Toronto Maple Leafs was a must-win game as the struggling Buffalo Sabres — and they won it, though not easily.
Buffalo blew an early two-goal lead, but Jason Pominville put the Sabres ahead to stay with 5:47 left in the second period and they held off the Leafs 3-2 at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres (19-19-5) entered the night 11th in the East — and even with the win they remained five points behind Washington for the final playoff berth. But with their next seven games on the road, they knew this was a win they had to have.
“It wasn’t our best game, so it was nice to be able to get that one,” Pominville said. “It was fun to see guys keep their composure. We’re not going through the stretch we would want, but we were playing well.”
Matt Ellis and Paul Gaustad had first-period goals for the Sabres, who snapped a three-game slide and won for just the third time in seven games (3-7-2). Ryan Miller stopped 24 shots as the Sabres earned a split of a home-and-home series after losing 2-0 in Toronto on Tuesday.
The win came hours after owner Terry Pegula reaffirmed his faith in the team. The first-year owner blamed the Sabres’ struggles on a rash of injuries, and expressed confidence his team is not far from bouncing back.
“It’s nice of him to put that belief in us,” Miller said. “We’ve got a lot more work to pay him back.”
January 14th, 2003 Ryan Miller Records His First Career Shutout vs. Wild
On This Day 9 Years Ago Current Sabres Starting Goaltender Ryan Miller Recorded his First Career Shutout over the Minnesota Wild in a 1-0 Sabres Victory. Denis Hamel recorded the only goal with less than 12:30 left in the game. Miller outdueled former Sabres Goalie Dwayne Roloson making 22 Saves on the Night. Since Miller has recorded 22 more Shutouts over the last 7 Seasons.
NY Islanders: Katic Left Shoulder Surgery(IR/Out), DiPietro Sports Hernia Surgery(IR/Out), Montoya Concussion(Out), Mottau Concussion-Like Symptoms(Out), Reasoner Broken Right Thumb(Out)
Buffalo: Stuart Lower Body(IR/Out), Ennis Left Ankle(Out), Sekera Upper Body(Out), Ehrhoff Upper Body(Out), McNabb Concussion(Out)