Wednesday’s Portland Coverage

The goals are goals and wins (Portland Press Herald)

Give to Toys for Kids at Saturday’s Game (PortlandPirates.com)

Stuck in the middle

‘With one-quarter of the season done, the Sabres are exactly where people expected. They entered Monday night in ninth place, four points out of fifth and three points ahead of 13th.’

Tuesday’s Portland Coverage

Pirates to Host Twelve Days of Christmas Finale (PortlandPirates.com)

Fan Wins $1,000 in NAPA Chuck-a-Puck Contest (PortlandPirates.com)

Pirates Merchandise Sale Wednesday (PortlandPirates.com)

Pirates hoping last weekend was just a speed bump (LetsGoSabres.com)

Mancari, injuries and the Buffalo Bills

‘“Mark has come in and played well,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said of the 6-foot-3 forward. “You’re always going to get instant pop out of a player you bring up. There is the exciting of getting up, there is the excitement of playing. “He uses his size but he gets [to the net]. He gets inside the D and he gets to the goaltender. That’s more about how goals are going to be scored.”’

Sabres are liking Mancari’s chances

‘“He’s a big body with a great shot who can get pucks to the net,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “He’ll go to the front of the net and hang tough and he’s been good on their power play. With Ales and Tim out, it’s a weapon we can try to utilize.”’

Not always easy to spot future NHLers

‘The top prospect I saw the most was a centre with Oshawa, Dave Andreychuk. I reported he had a good shot, was a bad skater and was slow coming back. Andreychuk was drafted in the first round by Buffalo and played over 1,900 NHL games and scored more than 680 goals. Not bad for a bad skater!’

Team’s injury policy serves only to hurt Connolly… again

‘The policy might be well-intentioned, but it makes no sense in this situation. Lindy Ruff didn’t want to announce the specific nature of the injury out of fears that when he returned, Connolly would be targeted. But he’s already a target, a wounded gazelle on a Serengeti Plain full of ruthless predators.’

Sabres need to make moves to get closer to goal

‘Forget about this season, folks. It’s not going to happen with the current group, which is fragile. It’s a playoff-caliber team, nothing more.’

Sabres have that sinking feeling

‘The Sabres were working hard, skating well — to put it bluntly, they were absolutely dominating the Islanders — but once again they were being openly mocked by the scoreboard.’

Broken rib has sidelined Connolly

‘Connolly was hit hard by Tkachuk on Nov. 12, but an initial diagnosis failed to reveal the crack. The Sabres have described the injury only as an “upper body-musculoskeletal” problem.’

Isles hand Buffalo fifth straight loss

‘But a night after former teammate Martin Biron made 40 saves in a shutout, the Sabres again ran into a hot goalie. MacDonald, making his 10th straight start in place of the injured Rick DiPietro, avenged an earlier start this season in which he allowed all seven goals in a 7-1 loss to the Sabres on Long Island. He made 30 saves over the first two periods.’

Mancari nets first goal in 2-1 loss

‘“I’m happy with my play, but I’d rather that take goal back and win a game. That’s what’s important right now,” he said.’

Sunday’s New York Coverage

MacDonald makes amends as Islanders beat Sabres (New York Newsday)

Islanders’ vision coming into focus (New York Newsday)

Islanders bounce back for their fourth win in five games (NewYorkIslanders.com)

Photo gallery (NewYorkIslanders.com)

Photo gallery (Sabres.com)

MacDonald makes 35 saves in Islanders 4-2 win

‘“We had no emotion early on,” Buffalo forward Jason Pominville said. “We weren’t competing and we lost a lot of one-on-one battles.”’

NY Islanders 4, Buffalo 2

‘”I don’t know what’s going on,” Mancari said. “We didn’t have the good start that we wanted. We weren’t moving our legs, we weren’t creating chances. In the second period I thought we were better, in the third it kind of tailed off again.”‘