'It was the first time that Buffalo – which lost at home to Columbus on Tuesday – has lost consecutive home games since losing three straight in January of last season.'
'Mikko Eloranta scored his second goal of the game with 13:25 remaining as the Boston Bruins moved back over .500 with a 2-1 victory over the punchless Buffalo Sabres.'
He didn't face as many shots as his last outing in Buffalo (30 this time to 36 last time), but Bruins' goalie Byron Dafoe stood tall again when the Sabres threw everything at him.
‘It’s taken a while for the tactics of “Iron” Mike Keenan to settle into the Bruins, but they have slowly improved since replacing Pat Burns with Keenan. Although they are a .500 team with a 19-19-6-5 record for fourth in the Northeast Division, Boston has been hot lately, going 5-3-1-1 in its last 10 games.’
'The Sabres are definitely pressing. They've scored twice in three games heading into tonight's matchup with the Boston Bruins at HSBC (7, Empire, Radio 107.7). They've netted two goals or fewer in six of their last eight games.'
'The hero of the Nagano Olympics, who led the Czech Republic to the gold medal via a 1-0 shootout win over Canada, has hinted at coming back to the Buffalo Sabres and defending his nation's title at the 2002 Olympics in Utah.'
‘The biggest reason the Sabres are winning is because they are playing sound defense and getting production from four lines in a watered-down league.’
‘"I think we’ve got some great leadership in that room, and if I’ve got to put a letter on somebody’s jersey to make our team better, we’re really in a sad state."’
With two straight losses, a 4-5-2 record in the New Year and a 14-13-3-0 mark in their last 30 games, the Sabres find themselves caught in an Eastern Conference No Man’s Land, teetering seven points from first place and now just seven points from ninth and a seed on the living room couch for the playoffs.
As he’s been prone to doing recently in games against Buffalo, no matter what jersey colors he wears, veteran goalie Ron Tugnutt stuffed the Sabres on several close-in chances and really prevented any rebounds from landing at his doorstep with 22 saves.
‘At Monday’s practice, Ruff pleaded with his players to give a better offensive effort. He also shuffled the lines and defensive pairings to find some long-lost spark. Despite a second-period lead on a goal by fourth-line center Erik Rasmussen and another fine goaltending effort from Dominik Hasek, the Sabres couldn’t keep it together.’
‘Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff has been requesting, demanding and pleading for two things from his team lately: passion and offensive production. He got both Tuesday night, in the form of Rob Ray.’
‘Geoff Sanderson and Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre made triumphant returns to a city they used to call home. Neither scored a point against his former teammates, but neither cared. Both played well, and a win is a win is a win.’
‘Serge Aubin, C, Blue Jackets: No empty-netters tonight, baby. Aubin tied the score with a wicked slap shot and redirected the go-ahead goal past Dominik Hasek. Not a bad night’s work.’
‘"We should win 90 percent of these games and we need these points," Hasek said. "If we want to compete against teams like Toronto and Ottawa we can’t waste any more games like that."’