Buffalo Sabres Insider App Twitter Facebook

Lexus

SABRES RETURN HOME WITH BREATHING ROOM

Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 2:53 PM / News
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
X
Share with your Friends


SABRES RETURN HOME WITH BREATHING ROOM
Buffalo Sabres' Thomas Vanek, left, from Austria, celebrates teammate Tim Connolly's goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, March 21, 2010. Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters, lower right, Brett Carson (27) and Jay Harrison, rear, look on. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Monday’s day off isn’t the only reason the Buffalo Sabres are feeling refreshed.

Gaining seven out of a possible 10 points in their recent five-game road stint has served to not only give the team some much needed breathing room in the Northeast Division – it has also restored some confidence.

“I feel a lot better,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. “We locked into a pretty good style, we played real hard and we got rewarded for it.”

Buffalo is now ahead of second-place Ottawa by seven points (with two games at hand) and getting closer to clinching a playoff spot with 11 games remaining in the season.

“You’ve got to give the players credit,” Ruff said. “We talked about different situations, we talked about the starts, we changed a few things up and said we were going to keep working on the power play… Now we’re starting to execute.”

Tinkering with some of the details has seemed to work. Ruff switched some of the lines, including pairing Tim Kennedy with longtime partners Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek.

The result has been three consecutive wins and plenty of offense. The Sabres have scored a total of 14 goals in that span.

“[It was] just a hunch,” Ruff said. “[I’m] pleased at the same time that it has worked out. [Kennedy’s] creativity, he’s got some newfound confidence with it. That line has given us some offense. At the same time defensively he’s been a pretty strong player for us. He was always a winger so it was an easy decision.”

While the practice of changing lines has been a common one, Ruff also opted for a more unconventional method of attack in taking away some of the team’s practice time.

Beginning during Thursday’s 6-2 win in Tampa Bay, Ruff not only dismissed the morning skate, he also held his players in the locker room for three minutes while the Lightning took to the ice for warm-ups.

“Part of it was I was trying to create a sense of urgency. If you take away warm-up time, a player knows before he goes out that he’s got to be ready,” Ruff said. “Part of not skating is that you’ve got the rest of the day to think about, ‘well I didn’t skate this morning, I’ve got to be ready to play.’
 MULTIMEDIA

Lindy Ruff Interview
Jochen Hecht Interview
Paul Gaustad Interview
Thomas Vanek Interview

“It’s the time of year where I really don’t know what benefit the morning skate has when you go out for 15 minutes. Sometimes it just makes it a real long day. So our focus was just on having a video meeting in the morning and focusing on the things that are important.”

The Sabres will continue to be challenged this week with a three-game homestand, including facing two division opponents in Montreal and Ottawa. Ruff said his focus is on keeping the momentum going and not losing any ground.

“It’s just as important as last week,” he said. “We went on the road and we wanted to create a little bit of space. Now we’re back home and we don’t want to take last week for granted. We worked hard to get a little distance between us and we’ll take it one game at a time, focus in on Montreal and try to take care of our part here at home, because we know that past this week we’re back on the road.

“In those last 10 games and you see the utmost of desperation from a lot of teams. It’s your last shot at a playoff spot or your last shot to move up. In our case we want to try and move up in the standings.”

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