'"Going into an off-season with so many guys having to sign, I don't think anyone knew, as far as the players, who was going to be here and who wasn't," Drury said last week. "But, obviously, they kept a lot of guys and signed a lot of contracts this summer, and it's certainly working out."'
'They may not hoist the Cup in June. But in a league dominated by parity, it'll be fun to see just how dominant they can be in their quest to do so.'
'And what should worry the Panthers, who visit Buffalo on Nov.'10, is that Sabres coach Lindy Ruff doesn't feel his team has played its best hockey, with the exception of its 9-1 dismantling of Philadelphia on Oct.'16.
"We're in search of the perfect game," Ruff said. "The coaching staff is, anyway. We've got to continue to create good habits, not get careless and not get sloppy. We need to … make smarter plays."'
'Buffalo would choose to go first in the shootout as Briere would miss the net on the glove side of Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen. The Thrashers would take the shootout lead on a shot from forward Vyachelsav Kozlov. Maxim Afinogenov and Marian Hossa would respectively get stopped on their attempts, as it all came down to Thomas Vanek. Vanek’s wrist shot would glance off Lehtonen’s glove then off the crossbar and fly over the net as the Sabres would lose their first game of the season.'
'The Sabres received a standing ovation immediately following the game.'
'"We just didn't win."'
'Leave the turnovers at the bakery. After superlative defensive efforts in Boston and Montreal, the Sabres, to a man, admitted guilt to an overload of careless and sloppy turnovers in their win on Long Island. While a talented foe like the Thrashers can intimidate any team, Buffalo's demise in this loss was, in large part, due to more of the same kinds of turnovers that indirectly led to goals being deposited in the back of their own net.'
‘The end could very well have been much happier. The Sabres outskated and outchanced the Thrashers by far but were undone by a tight grip on their sticks, a costly turnover, a faceoff loss and a very average performance by Miller.’
‘”We don’t have one (in the loss column), we have a shootout loss,” said Miller. “We still feel like we’re on a roll here. I thought the guys did a great job, gave us some chances. It was a team that was on a roll. It came down to the wire.”‘
'Former Sabres player, Vyachelsav Kozlov, scored the only shootout goal the Thrashers needed, beating Ryan Miller with a snap shot inside the left post.'
‘”It’s tough,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “I’m disappointed for him because he was playing real well for us, and now the same thing happened. I know how frustrating it is.”‘
‘It is believed that Tallinder has re-aggrevated his broken arm from last playoffs, to the extent of possibly re-breaking it.’
'Since Buffalo News readers learned Thursday that the Sabres expect to sell out their season, the team has sold more than 11,000 tickets for its remaining games.'
'National media outlets that wouldn't otherwise step foot in Buffalo until late in the postseason are here to cover a game before Halloween.'