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Fast Start Leads to Victory

Thursday, 01.05.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Fast Start Leads to Victory
The Buffalo Sabres had been hampered by slow starts lately, coming out of the gate like a Shetland Pony. On Thursday night, Buffalo started the game like a thoroughbred racehorse charging to a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at HSBC Arena.

"We went after them and pressed pretty hard with all five guys," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "We really should have had four or five goals in the first period."

Buffalo scored a goal in the opening 20 minutes, held Tampa Bay without a shot on net for the first five minutes of play and closed the period outshooting the Lightning 14-3, as the team moved to 3-2-0 with a shootout loss in the last five games.

"Realistically, a couple days off really helps," said Ruff, whose team hadn't had three consecutive days off since December 5th through December 7th. "We had good legs tonight. Sometimes the schedule will get you and sometimes it will get your opposition."

"We talked before the game that we needed to start the game better than we had in the last few games," said defenseman Henrik Tallinder. "The most important thing was that we were ready to play from the opening faceoff."

Tallinder put forth one of his best efforts of the season at both ends the ice. In more than 18 minutes in playing time, Tallinder scored his third goal in four games and finished with a plus/minus rating of plus-one, despite being paired against Tampa Bay's top line of Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards for most of the night.

"I thought Tallinder's all-around game was really strong," said Ruff.

Tallinder now has recorded career-best five goals this season. He had scored just four in his previous three-year in the NHL.

"I've been fed some great passes and have been just trying to fire on net," said Tallinder. "The puck just keeps going in."

Tallinder's recent offensive production can be attributed to his increased confidence. The Stockholm, Sweden native's last three goals have all come on rushes where the defenseman has moved up ice from his position on the blueline.

"As a defenseman, you always think defensively first," said Tallinder. "With some added confidence, you feel you can join the play and see more opportunities."

Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller recorded his 10th victory of the season with 21 saves.

"Our guys can really get that puck moving and snap it around," said Miller. "That first period really forced Tampa Bay to come out in the second and regroup."

With 19 seconds remaining in the first period, the Sabres power-play unit gave Buffalo the 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Jochen Hecht, who was parked in front of the net, put Buffalo on the board after redirecting Brian Campbell's slapshot from the point to the left post. The power-play goal was Hecht's first point in four games and snapped a 0-8 drought by Buffalo's man-advantage unit.

Midway through the second, Sabres co-captain Chris Drury fired into the top right corner of the net from the left faceoff dot for Buffalo's second power-play goal of the game. The unit would finish the night 2-7. Drury suffered a mild groin strain at the end of the second and sat out the third period for precautionary purposes. He is listed as day-to-day.

Hopefully, not playing the third will make Drury's injury short-term for us," said Ruff.

Off a turnover by Sabres defenseman Dmitri Kalinin near the goal line in Buffalo's zone, Martin St. Louis bats a rebound from mid-air past Miller. Appearing in the Sabres lineup for the first time in 11 games, Kalinin was the only Sabre to log more than 20 minutes of ice time.

Tallinder regained Buffalo's two-goal lead at 2:15 of the third. On an odd-man rush, Adam Mair slid a no-look pass to the defenseman, who cutting down the slot, for the easy one-timer.
Scoresheet | Super Stats | Faceoff Comp | Play By Play | Shift Chart

Period 1
1-0 (19:41): With 19 seconds remaining in the first period, Brian Campbell's slapshot from the point is redirected by Jochen Hecht to put Buffalo on the board. The power-play goal is Hecht's ninth of the season, second on the man advantage and first point in four games. Campbell is credited with the primary assist, while Tim Connolly gets the secondary.

Period 2
2-0 (10:10): Chris Drury snaps a wristshot into the top left corner of the net from the left faceoff dot for Buffalo's second power-play goal of the game. The Sabres man-advantage unit is currently 2-4. The tally is Drury's eighth PP goal of the season and 15th overall.

2-1 (12:23): Off a turnover by Dmitri Kalinin in Buffalo's zone, Martin St. Louis bats the puck out of mid-air off past Ryan Miller to cut Buffalo's lead to one. Miller made the save on Vincent Lecavalier's twirling shot from the shot but the puck deflected into the air in front. Lecavalier and Ryan Craig get the helpers.

Period 3
3-1 (2:15): Henrik Tallinder one-times a Adam Mair's beautiful no-look pass past Sean Burke to increase the Sabres lead to a pair of goals. The marker is Tallinder's career-best fifth goal of the season and the third time he has scored in four games. Paul Gaustad records the secondary assist.




1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82