'"You've got a state that is just pushing its citizens to the brink," said Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano, who has run for governor three times against Pataki. "We lowered ticket prices as a way of dealing with the economic environment. For us to lower prices and have the state come along and take it all back, what does that do to us as an organization, and what does it do to the fans?"'
'That's the thinking of coach Lindy Ruff, whose team is on a recent roll thanks in part to the young triumvirate of Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy and Milan Bartovic. Ruff put the trio together after Bartovic was called up from Rochester of the AHL four games ago. Since then, Buffalo has won three of those contests, and finds itself six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as it gears up for a crucial home-and-home series this weekend with the New York Rangers.'
'The Sabres have been searching for a winning touch and appear to have found it in Ales Kotalik. Buffalo is now 10-1 in games that the forward scores, including a 4-1 victory at HSBC Arena against Montreal. Kotalik didn’t have the only outstanding performance in the game. Martin Biron had a solid game in goal, making several key acrobatic saves.'
'"The last four games is definitely a case of guys really laying it on the line," Biron said. "That's the desperation the guys are showing."'
'People are grateful Golisano rescued the franchise, but at some point they're going to want him to give this team another push with his wallet. The Sabres had everything snap into place Tuesday night. Martin Biron was sensational. Chris Drury, J.P. Dumont and Ales Kotalik all had two points. The Sabres have won three of their last four games, and you start wondering where they could go with a nudge from upstairs.'
'"We had chances in the third period, but we couldn't bury the puck," Mike Ribeiro said. "We had a power play early in the period and we couldn't score. We had the momentum, but they got a power play and scored."'
'A more attractive promotion is on tap Saturday when the Sabres meet the New York Rangers. The Peace Bridge duty-free shop is offering two tickets, a case of beer and a $5 gift certificate for $45 U.S.'
'“The turning point was Martin Biron making the big saves,'' Julien said. “If we score on those, it's a different story.'''
'"Marty was fabulous," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "He made three or four game-breaking saves that allowed us to go on and win that game. If we're going to get on a roll, we need a goaltender to win us games, and I thought he had a big part in the win tonight."'
'Montreal has now failed to win in Buffalo since Oct. 26, 2001.'
'G Martin Biron has fared well against his hometown team. The Lac St. Charles native has posted an 8-3-0 record against the Canadiens and stands level with his Habs counterpart with a 1.98 goals against average and a .928 save percentage.'
'“We try to target about 30 nights a year for a theme, to give fans something more than what’s on the ice,” DiPofi said. “We’re trying to add a little fun to the building.”'
'"There's still hope," he said, "but not as much as before."'
'The Canadiens are 9-3-2 since Dec. 29, averaging 3.67 goals per victory.'
'McKee twisted his knee after getting his skate caught on the ice in the first period against the Flyers. He has already missed 19 games this season because of the injury. The defenseman sat out Buffalo's 4-2 win over Carolina Sunday.'