Inside — really Inside — the Numbers of the Sabres' impressive win over the Ottawa Senators.
John Rigas got an overnight letter from FedEx this morning: the deed to the Ottawa Senators, which his Buffalo Sabres now officially own. The Sabres have won 11 of the last 14 meetings with the Senators, but don't put your aluminum-foil Stanley Cups into production just yet.
‘After an early season win, the Sens have lost four straight to the Sabres. Let’s hope the Senators don’t meet Buffalo in the playoffs. A first round encounter will mean a short Ottawa post-season.’
With coach Lindy Ruff looking for grit and hustle with a defensive conscience and ability to play physically, Erik Rasmussen has fit the bill.
'Beating the Northeast Division leaders gave the Sabres a nice start to their road trip, which includes games with some of the NHL's best teams.'
'Clearly, the Sabres have the Senators' number, leaving them frustrated and shaking their heads searching for answers they haven't needed against the rest of the NHL in recent weeks.'
'Hasek finished the season with a stunning .996 goals-against average against the Senators, giving up only five goals in five games. Three of them came in a 3-1 loss to the Senators on Nov. 28.'
'Ottawa is 7-3 in its last 10 games, with all three losses coming at the hands of Hasek.'
‘The Sens may be one of the National Hockey League’s elite teams, but the Sabres are their Achilles’ heel. Tuesday night, Ottawa dropped its fourth consecutive game to Buffalo this season…’.
'"Yeah, but when we play the other teams, we suck," said Sabres forward Rob Ray. "We have the hardest time against the Islanders, Tampa…"'
'When he became a free agent two years ago, his first phone call was to the Sabres. There was no interest. Well, no problem. A year later, he was back on the free-agent market. Again, his first call went to Buffalo. This time, the Sabres, desperate for power-play help, bit.'
'Buffalo won its second straight and sixth in seven games.'
'J.P. Dumont scored twice and Dominik Hasek made 29 saves as the Buffalo Sabres opened a five-game road trip with a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.'
The only "x" factor in the equation? The Senators' only regulation loss and overtime loss in the last 10 games were at the hands of the Sabres.
'That is why he's here. He considers Buffalo his home. This is where he began his NHL career more than 18 years ago, and where he intends to settle down when he's finally done parking himself around creases and flipping pucks past confounded goaltenders.'