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RUFF WANTS TO BUILD ON THE MOMENTUM

Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 11:57 AM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE
The Sabres and Islanders close out their season series tonight at First Niagara Center in a 7 p.m. start. Buffalo is looking to win their second game in a row, and second consecutive over the Islanders. In their last meeting on February 4 at Nassau Coliseum, Buffalo rallied from a two-goal first period deficit to defeat New York 4-3 in a shootout. In that game, Ryan Miller became Buffalo's all-time leader in goalie wins with the 235th of his career.

WHAT THEY WERE SAYING

Lindy Ruff (click to hear full audio)
What was the key to your win over the Islanders in your last meeting?
I thought we played a strong first period, but we made a couple of real big mistakes that allowed them to jump on us and get the lead. We outshot them badly, and in the last 40 minutes we had to battle hard to get back in the game. We got that late goal from Gaustad that triggered the comeback. We’d like to play the same first period (tonight), but get rid of the mistakes.

Were you happy with the team’s pushback against Pittsburgh on Sunday?
You talk about momentum inside a game, and pockets of play that you’ve gotta grab momentum from. They had a couple of pockets where they fought back, and we answered by coming back with our own good pockets of play. I think we took some of their will away by the end of the game. I thought if it wasn’t for Fleury coming in and making four or five outstanding saves, we could’ve just put them away altogether.

TODAY’S GAME
ISLANDERS at SABRES
*This is the fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
*Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New York, 4-3 (SO), in New York on Feb. 4.
*The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 5-4-1 at home.
*This is the 150th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo leads the series with a 72-55-22 record. Buffalo is 40-23-11 against the Islanders at home.

STORYLINES
The Sabres have four players entering tonight’s game on a three-game point streak: Derek Roy (2+3), Tyler Ennis (2+1), Tyler Myers (1+2) and Nathan Gerbe (0+3). For Ennis and Gerbe, the three-game streaks tie the longest point streaks of their careers… Paul Gaustad has seven points in his last 10 games (3+4)… The Sabres got two points on Sunday afternoon after four straight games without a win, beating the Penguins by a score of 6-2 at home.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Jason Pominville is ranked fourth in the NHL with 37 points (15+22) in home games; Pominville has 23 points (5+18) in 24 career games against the Islanders… Buffalo is 21-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 20-4-3 when scoring three or more… The Sabres are 16-4-4 when Derek Roy records a point and 14-4-1 when Christian Ehrhoff records a point… In his career, Buffalo is 32-9-6 when Tyler Ennis records a point (5-1-2 this season).

GOOSE IS LOOSE
Paul Gaustad has converted on 20 percent of his shots in the last 10 games, scoring three goals on 15 shots. Gaustad, who has averaged a TOI of 16:28during that stretch, has also been hot on the draw recently. His faceoff percentage of 61.7 percent during those games has improved his season numbers to 56.8 percent, good for ninth in the league.

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