NOTEBOOK: DEFENSE LEADS THE WAY
Saturday, 10.13.2007 / 10:44 PM ET / News
By Erin Pollina - Sabres.com
Jaroslav Spacek and Brian Campbell have gotten off to quick starts, leading the team in scoring with a combined 15 points.
|Audio: Derek Roy Post-Game
Audio: Brent Johnson Post-Game
Audio: Glen Hanlon Post-Game
Photos: Washington 3, Buffalo 7
Recap: Sabres Storm the Capitals
Video: Brian Campbell Post-Game
Video: Jaroslav Spacek Post-Game
Video: Lindy Ruff Post-Game
The duo combined for two goals and six points in Buffalo's 7-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
Spacek lit the lamp both times with the man advantage, while Campbell chipped in four helpers.
“That’s how we play,” Spacek said. “They set the puck up for me and for Brian to shoot if we can. That’s why we get lots of chances.”
After a disappointing playoff run last season going scoreless in 16 games, Spacek is rebounding nicely this year with six points (4+2) in four games.
Three of his four goals have come on the power play.
“I feel good,” Spacek said. “My legs are going that is one good thing. I did a little extra in training camp, ride the bike. [When] everything is going your way, you get the confidence that you can play.”
Brian Campbell has been an offensive asset for the Sabres as well, adding a goal and eight assists in four games.
“Right now they are making nice plays back there," Lindy Ruff said. "Jaro [Spacke] is getting the shots through and it’s finding some holes. Some of them are going through masses of people but we are getting the opportunities.
“Those two guys are really feeding off each other and we have as much confidence as a staff putting them against any line as we do right now against Henrik [Tallinder] and Toni [Lydman].”
As strong as the defense’s play has been, Ales Kotalik’s physical presence has been equally as tangible. Kotalik led the Sabres with four hits on Saturday night.
“Ales has really carried over from the end of last year where he has been our most physical player,” Ruff said. “Pound for pound he is by far the strongest player. He is a bowl on the ice and when he uses his size he is a tough guy to control.”
The Sabres ell one shot short of setting a new franchise record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Buffalo peppered Brent Johnson with an astounding 24 shots in the second period against the Capitals en route to 53 offerings in the contest.
The last time the franchise fired that freely in one period was in 1992 in the second period against the Hartford Whalers. The record for most shots in one period stands at 26 when Buffalo dominated the Cleveland Barons.
“I didn’t know that stat but we try to throw pucks to the net," Roy said. "We’ve got guys there and [Capitals goaltender Brent] Johnson was standing on his head. He was playing really well. It was just a matter of time before we got some shots through and get some guys to the net.”
The Buffalo Sabres Emcee Contest is down to two finalists, as Robert Murphy beat Tom Tran to make it to the last round of voting. Murphy will face Earl Leatherland this week in an online vote on Sabres.com to see who will be the in-game host of 10 Buffalo home games.