Buffalo Sabres Insider App Twitter Facebook

Lexus

GAUSTAD: THE SABRES' NEW FRONTMAN

Friday, 10.12.2007 / 3:58 PM / News
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
X
Share with your Friends


GAUSTAD: THE SABRES\' NEW FRONTMAN
Paul Gaustad
Center Paul Gaustad had a big night for the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday in the team's first victory of the regular season.

It just may not translate that way on the score sheet.

Although he didn't register a point, Gaustad's contribution on Buffalo's three power play goals in their 6-0 shutout win against the Atlanta Thrashers was none the less substantial.

Doing his best interpretation of a wall, Gaustad pushed his way into Kari Lehtonen's sight lines all night, creating havoc for the Atlanta netminder when his team was a man down.

“It’s probably the most important piece,” Lindy Ruff said of Gaustad's role in the power play's success. “If you look at Thomas [Vanek] on one unit being the guy in front of the net and Paul [Gaustad] in the other unit, you are the guy that has to obstruct the goalie. There are not many goalies in this league that you can with a shot from past the top of the circle unless he has to fight to see it.”

Gaustad has typically been an aggressive player and possesses the size to back it up. However, the six-foot-four, 229-pound forward said this particular role on special teams is a bit unfamiliar.

It's one that he's had to grown into, no pun intended.

“I’ve actually never been in front of the net my whole career. I’ve usually been on the goal line so this is new for me,” he said. “It’s something where it’s a lot more skill and a lot more work than I thought. Just body positioning and getting out of the way of shots, sometimes tipping them… it’s tough, but I’m getting there.”

Ruff agrees that he is well on his way.

“Paul’s job is to make sure he tries to get in that lane to read where the shot is going to come from,” Ruff said. “I thought he did a real good job with that.”

Even with the solid play he displayed in Thursday’s game, Gaustad is the first to admit that there is still room for improvement.

Citing Vanek and Detroit Red Wings’ Tomas Holmstrom as two players he tries to emulate in this position, Gaustad said he has been watching constant video of the pair.

“I think standing in front, the problem with it is everybody says you’ve got to tip the pucks, but you have probably a 220-pound defenseman cross-checking you while you’re trying to time the pucks”

Dodging the puck may prove the most difficult part for Gaustad.  The large welt on his ribs serves as a constant reminder.

“It’s tough in front of the net but it’s definitely rewarding,” he said. “It’s a lot of timing and hand-eye coordination, but I like it. I like battling in front and seeing the rewards on the power play.”

“You don’t get rewarded sometimes on the stat sheet,” Ruff said, “but at the end of the night your power play unit can feel pretty good about scoring three goals.”

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