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Beyond The Boards


Tuesday, 12.27.2011 / 7:30 PM ET
By Kevin Snow - (@kwsnow) / BEYOND THE BOARDS
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Brad Boyes returned to a more familiar setting last night, after missing the last 13 games with an ankle injury sustained against Boston on November 23. Being forced to watch games from the press box was frustrating for a guy who had played in 514 consecutive games, and had never missed a game due to injury in his career. But Boyes said there’s more to life in the press box than free hot dogs and coffee.

“It’s definitely a different view from up there; it’s a lot slower than it is on the ice,” he explains. “You can kind of see things open up and develop a little bit, and where the empty spaces are. And just kind of the way the team plays, whether we’re down low or guys are getting pucks to the net or wherever. You read off that, and once you’re back in you have a sense of where guys are gonna go.”

Buffalo heads into New Jersey on Wednesday in search of their first two-game winning streak in almost seven weeks. The Sabres last won back-to-back games as part of a four-game run from November 5-11. With the Eastern Conference so clustered up, going on a streak right now could propel the Sabres into as high as fifth spot by the time the clock runs out on 2011 this Saturday night. Jason Pominville knows how important the team’s next three games are.

“These are four-point games. You either want to catch them or push them back. Our next few are going to be big for us, three games in four nights. It’s going to be important for us to take care of ourselves and be ready to play.”

It may be cliché to say that the league-mandated two-day Christmas break played a part in last night’s win over Washington. But Pominville is one player who believes that the break came at a perfect time for the struggling – and hobbled – Sabres.

“You get to spend time with your family. Not think about hockey, do other things. Not watch the news or the internet. Just focus on your family. Get refreshed and reenergized, and come back to the rink with a smile and start from zero. I think it benefited us, and a lot of guys looked and felt good last night.”
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