'Lost among the Buffalo Sabres’ 31 wins, 65 points and 168 goals are three disturbing numbers: 2-5-1. That’s the Sabres’ home record within the Northeast following Thursday’s sloppy 4-2 loss to the division rival Toronto Maple Leafs before a sellout crowd of 18,690 fans at HSBC Arena. Buffalo’s overall Northeast record (8-7-1) is a little better, but it’s not what one would expect from a team that’s throttled the rest of the league for more than three months.'
Archives for January 12, 2007
‘”It’s a long schedule,” Sabres co-captain Chris Drury said. “You want to win every game you play. There’s certainly a little more emphasis with the rivalries within the division. But I wouldn’t trade wins against the Central Division or the Southeast Division just to get wins against these guys.”‘
‘Circumstances have changed. No longer is Buffalo afforded the luxury of underdog status, or perceived indignation, its favorite sources of nourishment. The Sabres fed off their light regard coming out of the lockout, responding to critics with a “We’ll show you.” They took up the challenge when injuries to the likes of Daniel Briere, J.P. Dumont and Tim Connolly threatened to derail them midyear, and then again when their defense was gutted late in the playoffs.’
‘”My goal is to play some great games so I have to force them into playing me a little bit more,” said Biron, who won Saturday in Toronto. “If I can do that, hopefully this will stay the big plan, to use me more.”‘
'The Sabres have played the game on and off the ice almost perfectly. But in an environment in which it appears difficult to make deals, Regier has to make something happen this year before the deadline.'
‘”Sometimes you get the schedule and sometimes the schedule gets you,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve had that advantage a few times where we played teams who have played away (the night before), and you have to take advantage of it and they did.”‘
‘Instead, Drury not only played his regular shift, logging more than 19 minutes, but also scored Buffalo’s second goal in a 4-2 loss.’
‘Count Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff among those who can’t wait to see Sid the Kid and Alexander the Great play on the same line.’
‘But the Miller-Biron tandem means even more to the freewheeling Sabres, who have scored more goals (166 heading into last night’s game against the Leafs) than any other team. “I think it allows us to do more plays that maybe other teams wouldn’t do,” winger Thomas Vanek said. “We make a lot of plays maximizing speed … high-risk plays. They pay off a lot of times, but it can go the other way for 2-on-1s as well. When you have goaltenders like a Ryan Miller, like a Marty Biron, you can try those kinds of things.”‘
‘Briere would spend four seasons bouncing between Phoenix and Springfield before earning a permanent NHL job with the Coyotes in 2001-02.’