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NOTEBOOK: UNEVEN ATTACK LEADS TO LOSS

Monday, 02.25.2008 / 11:21 PM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: UNEVEN ATTACK LEADS TO LOSS
The inability to sustain pressure and a consistent offensive attack cost the Buffalo Sabres a valuable point against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.  Rushing out to a three-goal lead in the opening 15 minutes of play, the Sabres relinquished the lead, puttered into overtime and ultimately lost a 4-3 decision via shootout.

"We're a puck control team, a puck pressure team and we've got to keep it up all night," said goaltender Ryan Miller.  "If we're getting tired, we've got to play smarter."

"We had them on the ropes, basically out of it, and we let them back in the game," said head coach Lindy Ruff.

Atypical mistakes cost the team.  A mental snafu by the team's best defensive pairing - Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder - allowed Jeff Carter a breakaway opportunity for the Flyers first goal.  The second score by Scott Hartnell less than two minutes later breathed life into a Philly team that had been winless in 10 straight and was dropping in the standings.

By the time the buzzer sounded to start the third period, Buffalo's momentum and energy was gone.   The team was badly out shot in the third, 12-5, and allowed R.J. Umberger to tied the score with a wristshot from the top of the circle on a Philadelphia man advantage at 12:45.

Buffalo mustered just one shot in the first half of the final frame.

"We're a team that spends a lot of time in the offensive zone; we spent no time in the offensive zone," said Ruff.  "We were three guys up the ice and two guys changing.  The defense would help get up the ice and two of the forwards would be changing. 

"It wasn't pretty."

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Maxim Afinogenov's injured groin may have healed to the point where the dynamic winger can return to full practice on Tuesday, according to Ruff.   Afinogenov has missed the last 24 games and last appeared in a Sabres sweater during the 2008 NHL Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Thomas Vanek leads all NHL players with 12 goals (in 12 games) in February as of games played through Feb. 24.  Vanek’s 12 goals are a career-high for any calendar month during his three-year NHL career. He entered the month having registered 14 goals in 50 games.

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