THE AFTERMATH: SABRES 3, MAPLE LEAFS 2
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Christian Ehrhoff scored his second goal of the preseason, and the Buffalo Sabres held on for a 3-2 preseason victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Ehrhoff, Drew Stafford and Luke Adam all scored power-play goals for the Sabres (4-0).
Mikhail Grabovski scored a pair of rebound goals, and Matt Frattin added two assists, but it wasn't enough for Toronto (2-3).
Stafford gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead 6:19 in with his first goal of the preseason. Grabovski tied it at 13:27, but Ehrhoff put Buffalo back in front with a shot from the right point at 12:55 of the second. Ehrhoff leads Buffalo with four points. ...more.
It was a subtle moment within the game, but one that Sabres fans have been waiting to see since Ville Leino signed on July 1. With seconds ticking down late in the second period, Leino lugged the puck deep into the Toronto zone. While fighting off defenseman Keith Aulie, Leino fed a backhander in front to a streaking Drew Stafford who just missed the one-time attempt. It was a good sign for the trio of Stafford-Leino-Ennis, who had struggled to find chemistry in the first two games. Stafford scored Buffalo’s first goal tonight, and the line combined to take eight shots – something Lindy Ruff said they weren’t doing enough of in their first two games. “I thought they played very well tonight,” said Lindy Ruff. “They were in a lot of opportunities, and played well in their own end.”
Luke Adam: After taking five shots through the first two periods, Luke Adam finally found the net with number six early in the third. Adam was the recipient of some slick passes from Thomas Vanek and Brad Boyes, as he buried a one-timer past the outstretched glove of Jonas Gustavsson. Adam had already picked up an assist on Christian Ehrhoff’s second period tally, and the two points were much needed for Adam who had been snakebitten so far this preseason. He finished the night with seven shots on goal. “I don’t think I was frustrated, I was just trying to get better,” Adam said afterwards. “But the game in Montreal, I was doing a lot of the little things away from the puck that I was pleased with. It’s nice when it all comes together like it did tonight.”
- Darcy Regier addressed the media prior to the game, and confirmed the Sabres have placed Ales Kotalik and Shaone Morrisonn on waivers. Both players will find out after 12 Noon on Monday if they have cleared, or are claimed by another team. Regier said that simply sending either player to Rochester isn’t a foregone conclusion at this point.
“We’re going to take a wait and see,” Regier I told the players I’d talk to them on Monday, and see where we were after the Noon deadline.”
Regier admitted that he’s had some preliminary discussions with other teams regarding Kotalik and Morrisonn, and intimated the waiver moves could possibly spark some further conversations.
“There has been some interest. The difficulty is in training camp, teams are trying their younger players. It’s difficult to make these moves. I’m hopeful that by making these two players available, that in the event they clear, it might even prompt some conversation with teams in regards to ‘would you consider looking at something else?’ in the way of a trade.”
- Lindy Ruff said he didn’t get a clear look at the Colby Armstrong hit-from-behind on Paul Gaustad in the first period, but he seemed to think the videotape of the play would likely be reviewed at NHL headquarters. Armstrong was assessed a two-minute charging minor on the play. “Paul was totally defenseless,” Ruff said. “I don’t know if (Armstrong) eased up, if he slowed down, or if he tried to use some caution because he saw he had his back turned. But that’s one they’ll probably take a look at.”
- Jordan Leopold wore the “C” tonight, making him Buffalo’s fourth different captain of the preseason. Thomas Vanek and Nathan Gerbe were the assistants.
- Buffalo has started the preseason 4-0 for the first time since 2000. The Sabres won seven straight to open that preseason, and finished 7-0-1.
- After going scoreless on the power play through their first two games, the Sabres have now scored with the man advantage in their last two games.
- Buffalo has now scored first in three straight games.
- Ehrhoff leads Sabres in scoring with points with 4 (2+2), and has now scored in three straight games.
- The Sabres are now 138-146-48 all-time in the preseason, and 25-10-2 since the start of 2005-06.
- This was the 65th all-time preseason game between the Sabres and Maple Leafs since 1974. Buffalo holds a 32-27-6 advantage.
The Sabres will play their third game in three days on Sunday afternoon in Columbus at 5 p.m. Following that game, Buffalo doesn’t play again until they travel to Washington on Friday to face the Capitals (7 p.m.). Buffalo leaves for Germany one week from tonight, as they will be participating in the NHL’s Premiere Series to open the regular season. Before playing their season opener in Helsinki on October 7 against Anaheim, the Sabres will play an exhibition game against Adler Mannheim on Tuesday, October 4 in Mannheim, Germany.