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NOTEBOOK: SAME OLD SHOOTOUT SONG AND DANCE

Saturday, 01.12.2008 / 11:14 PM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: SAME OLD SHOOTOUT SONG AND DANCE
Daniel Paille (photo: Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres have put forth some great efforts during an eight-game winless streak but obviously haven't been seeing the desired results. Unfortunately, Saturday night was the same song and dance.

Buffalo's version of the Energizer Bunny - Daniel Paille - got the bounces that Buffalo hadn't been getting in the past few games and notched a pair of goals on Devils netminder Martin Brodeur to give the Sabres an early 2-0 lead.

But a miscue by goaltender Ryan Miller, and a slapstick goal by David Clarkson with a minute left in the third, pushed the game to overtime. 

Another shootout ended in another 3-2 shootout loss for the Sabres.

"I thought we totally dominated the first 40 minutes," said head coach Lindy Ruff whose team poured 17 shots on Brodeur through the opening two frames.  "We let them off the hook in the second period with goalposts, missed nets and crossbars. 

"It was probably more chances than you'll see in four games against that team."

With a depleted lineup, Paille has been one of Buffalo's most productive players during the team's sluggish offensive period.  In the last eight games, Paille has recorded three goals and eight points while posting a plus-9 rating.

"We were definitely hoping that [two quick goals] could turn it around for us," said Paille.  "But we're still making some great plays. 

"We just need to finish them really soon."

The Sabres have been outscored 29-15 in the last nine games.

"We did everything in our power to go after [goals] three and four," said Ruff.  "You could say to the team it's 2-0, let's play safe.  But we went after it in the second period and we threw everything we could.

"We had them where we wanted them and we just didn't finish."

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How snake bitten are the Sabres in shootouts this season?  Having lost four straight,  Ruff did something that he's never done before.  In the comfortable confines of HSBC Arena, Ruff choose to have his team shoot second in the shootout.  A rarity for the longest tenured coach in the league since the home team was given the option of choosing the shooting order last season.

"I was looking to just change things up," said Ruff.  "It didn't work."

Ruff wasn't exactly looking forward the shootout.  He's seen Buffalo be unable to finish five of the last eight games in regulation or overtime.  A span where the Sabres were winless.

Buffalo hasn't won in a shootout since Dec. 22 at Philadelphia and are two losses away from the league record for consecutive shootout defeats for a single season.  San Jose in 2005-06 and Florida in 2006-07 each dropped seven straight.

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Quotable:   

"It's tough.  We've had great games in goal where we didn't score.  We have not had ham and egg.  We've had a lot of ham and we've had a lot of egg, but  we haven't mixed it up very well." -- Lindy Ruff regarding Buffalo's inability to synchronize all facets of their game this season

"You would expect your goaltender to want them back.  He'll beat himself up, and I'll pick him back up again." -- Lindy Ruff on goaltender Ryan Miller

"We had a ton of chances tonight and I think that's the most disappointing part of it all.  We had chances against a team that's tough to get chances against." -- defenseman Brian Campbell

"We're kind of struggling for goals in a shootout and we're just going to have to work on it. One of these days we're going to get a win out of it." -- forward Daniel Paille

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