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BTB: KALETA'S IMPACT

Friday, 10.09.2009 / 10:18 AM / Blogs - Beyond the Boards
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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BTB: KALETA\'S IMPACT
Pat Kaleta (Photo: Getty Images)
Lindy Ruff said he wanted Patrick Kaleta to pick his spots this season when looking for a big hit.

The agitator found it 32 seconds into the second period on Thursday night.

With Phoenix Coyotes’ forward Petr Prucha playing the puck along the wall, Kaleta saw an opportunity and lambasted the winger with a check that sent him sprawling across the ice.

Martin Hanzal retaliated and jumped Kaleta – earning 19 minutes in penalties and giving the Sabres a four-minute power play.

“He made a great clean hit on somebody that wasn’t paying attention,” goaltender Ryan Miller said. “It just kind of threw them off that all night they felt they had to get in Patty’s face.”

While the Coyotes may disagree, Kaleta believes the hit was clean.

“Dirty ones I stay away from,” he said. “I don’t like those, I don’t think it’s a good hit. If a guy has his head down and I can stick him with a good hit I’m going to. It’s part of the game and that’s what happened. If they want to come after me I’ll just let our power play go out.”

And he did. In all, the Angola native drew 10 minutes worth of power play time for the Sabres as they beat Phoenix 2-1 at HSBC Arena.

James Vandermeer earned two minutes for roughing in the second period when he tried to mix it up with Kaleta. Scottie Upshall later received four minutes for high-sticking and roughing.

“Pat did a nice job,” Ruff said. “He drew a lot of penalties. He did it well within the perimeters of the law… You’ve got to give him a lot of credit for putting us in the position to win the game.

“We were looking for energy, he supplied some energy and we got some opportunities because of the way he played.”

The role isn’t a foreign concept for the winger. He began the 2008-09 season in a similar fashion.

Kaleta was indirectly responsible for back-to-back wins for the Sabres on Oct. 15 against the Rangers and Oct. 17 against the Canucks. By luring Paul Mara and Shane O’Brien, respectively, into penalties, the subsequent power plays resulted in game-winning goals for Buffalo.

That trend, and reputation, has become a known trait of Kaleta's throughout the League.

“It’s part of my job,” he said. “I’m happy to contribute to our team and let our skill guys go out there and do their job.”

Kaleta also seemed to satisfy Ruff’s request to become a more complete player.

The Sabres Head Coach asked the winger to abandon the ‘ping pong’ style he’s used in the past and only hit opponents when it doesn’t take him out of the play.

Ruff also wanted him to work on special teams, where he found a good fit, leading the Sabres with 2:55 minutes on the penalty kill in Thursday’s win.

“We shut them down and that’s something we’ve been trying to improve from last year,” Kaleta said. “You’ve heard it – holding each other accountable and shutting them down at the end; not letting other teams back in and keeping the points that we need.”

KALETA'S HIT ON PRUCHA
 

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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