'The Senators are 14-0-3-2 in the Corel Centre since Dec. 13.'
Archives for February 2004
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'"There's no question that Buffalo is a big thorn in our side because they play such a patient game. For us to win, we can't afford to give an 80-85% effort. We have to make sure that we're all giving 100%."'
'The Senators will be starting G Patrick Lalime tonight, but who will be in net for the Sabres is anyone's guess. Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff pulled both G Martin Biron and G Mika Noronen in the club's two games before last night's tilt with the New York Islanders. In fact, the Sabres' starter has been replaced in three of the last six games.'
'"We didn't give up very much," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "We created three times more chances than we gave up. I thought we did everything but score. What's demoralizing is that a couple of their goals were tough goals. We need a little better goaltending performance. We needed a couple more saves. We can't give up four goals a game."'
'Yeah, I know. The Sabres still have 18 games remaining and can rescue their season if they get on another tear. The truth is the first hot streak was nothing short of miraculous. Everything, and I mean everything, fell into place when the Sabres took off with a 9-1-1 record. Yes, it could happen again. Mika Noronen might score again, too.'
'"We're both known for our antics of getting under people's skin," Sabres enforcer Eric Boulton said. "I'll have some remarks for him, and he'll be all over my case, too."'
'“We can’t give up four goals in a game.”'
The players appear oblivious to the declining attendance and microscopic TV ratings. If they are so blind to the problems and so thick-headed that the NHL will be forced to shut down next season, it probably would be a blessing for hockey fans in Buffalo and many other league cities. An NFL-style salary cap, more parity on the ice and a more fan-pleasing style of play with an emphasis on free-wheeling, high-scoring hockey would be well worth sacrificing an entire season if necessary. It probably is Buffalos only hope for remaining in the NHL.
'Most importantly, goalie Rick DiPietro made 42 saves and withstood an early barrage from the desperate Sabres. He was the backbone of the critical road victory.'
'"The whole team knew this was a must-win for them and for us," said DiPietro, who claimed to be "fine" despite going down briefly after taking one late shot off the knee. "This was as big as it gets."'