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Toeing The Lines

Wednesday, 10.04.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Toeing The Lines

October 4, 2006
By Brian Wheeler

The Sabres entered the 2005-06 season as a team without a cut-and-dry identity. Buffalo created itself as just that - a team - rolling four lines and putting non-stop pressure on the opposition with its depth.

With 19 of 22 players currently on the roster having played at least 25 games with the team last season, head coach Lindy Ruff knows what to expect from this year's squad.

"We're trying to put together four lines that will give us depth again," said Ruff. "We know there were pieces that worked well together late in the year and into the playoffs."

Buffalo's top line will consist of a cannon shot and two versatile centers. Ales Kotalik will join the tandem of Derek Roy and Chris Drury, who gelled during the Sabres playoff run.

Maxim Afinogenov will take JP Dumont's place, as Dumont departed for Nashville via free agency in the off-season, on a line with Daniel Briere and Jochen Hecht.

The third line manifested itself during preseason with three players who matriculated through the Sabres farm system. Jiri Novotny, who led the Amerks in scoring last season with 54 points in 66 games, will center Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.

"I think those combinations give us three solid lines," said Ruff.

Energy and a little bit of offensive production will be the demands on the fourth line, which features Andrew Peters, Paul Gaustad and Adam Mair.

On the blueline the pairings will be a closer resemblance to those of last season, as Buffalo returns five of six starting defensemen.

Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder will continue to face the opposition's top line, while seasoned veteran Teppo Numminen has been partnered with Dmitri Kalinin. Brian Campbell and off-season acquisition Jaroslav Spacek are the Sabres only defensive pairing who hasn't played together before.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82