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NOTEBOOK: SABRES CONTINUE TO SING THE BLUES

Wednesday, 11.28.2007 / 10:46 PM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: SABRES CONTINUE TO SING THE BLUES
Ales Kotalik (photo: Bill Wippert)
The Buffalo Sabres missed an opportunity to right a ship that's been on the wrong course for more than a decade.  After squandering a two-goal lead, the Sabres saw their five-game winning streak ended with a 4-3 loss in HSBC Arena to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.

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Buffalo has been sining the blues when playing St. Louis for a very long time.  The Sabres are winless in the two team's last 11 meetings (0-8-1-2) and haven't won since Oct. 22, 1995.  That rare victory came across the street in the Memorial Auditorium.

Why the poor results?

Unfamiliarity with the opposition is one possible explanation.  Even in this day and age, video can not replace first-hand experience.

"You don't see this team at all," said Ales Kotalik, who scored his fifth goal of the season midway through the second period.  "It's not an excuse, but you really don't know what [style] they are playing.

"It's tough to get any kind of preparation for a team like this."

But Kotalik was quick to dissuade the notion that lack of preparation was the reason for the Sabres 11th loss of the season, instead sighting the team's overall performance.

"We shouldn't be playing like that at all," said Kotalik.  "We turned so many pucks over today and couldn't generate much.  That's where we've got to get better till the next game."



The Sabres winning streak may have come to an end, but their ability to get off to a fast start hasn't.  Buffalo scored first for the sixth consecutive game thanks to Jason Pominville's redirection off Clarke MacArthur's across-ice feed at 18:39 of the first period. 

"I just tried to find a lane," said Pominville, who has two goals in as many games after going scoreless in 13 straight.  "I just kind of kept my stick on the ice and [the pass] kind of went through two people, and ended up hitting my stick and then my leg."

It's been a streaky season for Buffalo, who scored first in the opening three games of the season before allowing the opening tally in the next 14.  The current six-game stint started at home against Montreal on Nov. 16. 

Buffalo is now 6-3-0 when scoring first and 5-8-1 when they don't.



Head coach Lindy Ruff said following the game that a single power-play goal won't win you many games.  True enough.

But the Sabres special teams certainly made the most of the their limited opportunities against the league's top penalty kill. 

Kotalik scored with a  blazing one-timer from a poor angle to give Buffalo a commanding 2-0 lead at 12:28 of the middle frame.  It just happened to be the only shot the team produced in two man-advantage situations all night.

"Today, we just waited for the chance to get out there," said Kotalik.  "We were able to score, but in the end, we played a poor hockey game and a poor 60 minutes."

Buffalo has converted five of their last 16 opportunities (31.3 percent) on the power play.  Their season average of 19.6 percent coming into the contest was good for tenth in the league.

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