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NOTEBOOK: SABRES STRIKE FIRST, HOLD STRONG

Friday, 11.16.2007 / 11:04 PM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: SABRES STRIKE FIRST, HOLD STRONG
Drew Stafford deposits Roman Hamrlik into the Sabres bench (photo: Bill Wippert)
When it rains for the Buffalo Sabres, it pours.

Suffering through a Sahara-like offensive drought the last five games, the Sabres forwards exploded for three first period goals, and ultimately, a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in front of a capacity crowd in HSBC Arena on Friday night.


RELATED LINKS
Audio:  Clarke MacArthur Post-Game 
Audio: 
Lindy Ruff Post-Game 
Audio: 
Derek Roy Post-Game 
Audio: 
Drew Stafford Post-Game 
Photo:  Canadiens 1, Sabres 4
Video:  Clarke MacArthur Post-Game
Video:  Ryan Miller Post-Game
Video:  Lindy Ruff Post-Game
Video:  Drew Stafford Post-Game
Video:  Shootout: MTL 1, BUF 4












Buffalo accomplished two very important things in their second match-up with the Canadiens. They scored first and sustained a lead. 

Entering Friday, Buffalo had allowed the first goal in 14 straight contests, three shy of the NHL record.  When Clarke MacArthur batted Derek Roy's rebound just inside the left post at 7:59 of the first period, it was the team's first lead in their last 495:33 minutes of play.

"It's a different game," said Roy concerning playing with the lead as compared to trailing.  "When you're up by a goal it seems like the other team needs to open up and get some momentum their way.

"Tonight we played smart.  We were chipping the puck in, weren't playing fancy at the blueline and we weren't making that little play in the middle.  We were playing as a team."

The team last took a lead at 11:12 of the third period in a 4-2 win over Florida on Oct. 26 or eight games ago.

"It was strange," joke head coach Lindy Ruff of scoring first.  "You've got to tone your style down when you've got a lead.  You can't give the other team life or opportunity."

Think the first goal isn't important?  This season throughout the NHL, the team that scores first wins 73.8 percent of the time.  Buffalo is 2-2.

"I didn't ever I was ever going to hear Neal Diamond sing again," joked Ruff referring the team's tradition of playing one of Diamond's tunes when winning. 



Nolan Pratt was signed to help strengthen the Sabres in their own end and in front of the net.  But since returning from a four-game hiatus due to a groin injury, the 11-year veteran has shown an offensive flair.

Pratt recorded his second point in as many games when his shot was redirected by Daniel Paille past Cristobal Huet at 12:19 of the first.  The defenseman recorded his first point of the season with the primary assist on Jochen Hecht's goal in the first period against Ottawa on Thursday night.

"He's a battler. He's a guy that has some size and he has some reach," said Ruff.  "He's kind of a brawler down low.  And he's turned into an offensive player too ... which scares me."

In 81 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, Pratt registered just a goal and eight points.



Drew Stafford had one of those hits that will live in highlight reels for the remainder of the season.  Connecting with Roman Hamrlik next to Buffalo's bench midway through the second period, Stafford nearly deposited the six-foot-two, 215-pound defenseman onto Clarke MacArthur's lap.

When asked, MacArthur said only one thing went through his mind: "Get out of the way."



Prior to MacArthur's heroics on Friday night, Stafford was the last Sabres rookie to score a pair of goals in a game.  Stafford accomplished the feat twice during the 2006-07 season: Mar. 9 versus Minnesota and Mar. 21 versus Washington.

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