‘”There’s no secret, you are going to need good goaltending,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We needed [Miller] to play a strong game. He did.”‘
‘With the questions turning from what was wrong to how he did things right, Dumont decided to pass along the praise. “Everyone deserves the attention for a win like that,” Dumont said.’
‘”We’re a wounded animal right now, that’s for sure, with the guys that are out,” defenseman Jay McKee said. “When an animal is wounded, that’s when they give everything they have and fight back. That’s all we’re asking for from every guy in this room. Leave everything on the ice. We’re getting that. Everybody’s efforts are rubbing off on each other.”‘
‘”There’s a special bond right now in our dressing room,” said Briere, who also assisted on J.P. Dumont’s first-period tally. “We’ve gone through a lot this year and we’ve gone through a lot in the playoffs. We like doing it for each other. We have the same guys in this dressing room who were here in training camp. Nobody from the outside came in.”‘
‘The Sabres couldn’t have put more heat on the kid if they had pulled out a blowtorch. They had 14 shots in the period. The pressure was relentless. And yet Ward was unflappable, standing firm before and after J.P. Dumont converted from atop the crease at 4:56. “They had most of the play in the first period and it could have been way worse than 1-0,” said ‘Canes captain Rod Brind’Amour.’
‘”The hardest job in the league is to try to tell if a guy’s throwing himself into the glass,” Weight said after the 2-1 loss. “I see him turning, he knows I’m coming, and right when I’m getting there full speed – I got my body committed – he spins the other way. It’s a disappointing call to me in overtime, but it’s worse being in the box when the puck goes in the net and it’s my fault. I should know that that kid does that. I don’t even know his first name for God’s sakes.”‘
'He doesn't fight and he doesn't threaten. In his first two years, opponents frequently challenged his courage, but then it tailed off. Mike Grier doesn't drop the gloves and no one asks him to. He goes about his business of hard checking, tough fore checking, intelligent back checking and digging out pucks for the skilled scorers on his line, Chris Drury and Derek Roy.'
'Sabres forward Tim Connolly, who has been out since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, declined an interview request before Tuesday's game. The Sabres have not specifically discussed Connolly's injury. He is believed to have suffered a concussion from a hit by Ottawa's Peter Schaefer and has missed the past nine games.'
'Pominville drew a boarding penalty against Carolina's Doug Weight, the fourth penalty Pominville forced in the game.'
‘”When you have a young team like they have, it’s nice to have this kind of success,” Bowman said. “But it works the other way, too. The more success you have, the less maneuverability you have to sign players. But I think (the Sabres) are in good shape right now. They’ve done a good job of figuring out how to make this work under the new rules.”‘
‘As it turns out, 4 minutes, 13 seconds of Teppo might have been exactly the sort of lift the Sabres have been saying they don’t need.’
‘The power-play came after Weight had bowled over Jason Pominville from behind and into the boards in the Sabres zone, an obvious boarding minor. “It was a pretty cheap shot,” Ruff said. “I mean, he’s defenseless.”‘
‘Once veteran Teppo Numminen aggravated his hip flexor muscle injury and didn’t play after the first period, it became a very long night for the Buffalo defense. Numminen’s exit left the Sabres with just five backliners — McKee, Campbell, Lydman, Rochester Amerk Doug Janik and Irondequoit’s Rory Fitzpatrick for the final 44-plus minutes.’
‘These inspirational young Sabres had faced every challenge this season — mountains of injuries, losing streaks, the growing pains of inexperience — and met them. They can now add playoff elimination to the list.’
‘“We’re not going to sit there and say we’re done. We kept pushing and somebody had to be a hero again,” Brian Campbell said. “It was probably not going to be the same guy, it seems like it’s always different for this hockey team. It’s just a will to win for this team.”‘