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UNLUCKY SEVENTH

Sabres lose seventh straight road game in 2-0 loss to Toronto

Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 10:44 PM / THE AFTERMATH
By Kevin Snow  - Sabres.com (@kwsnow)
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UNLUCKY SEVENTH
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TORONTO – You can’t win if you don’t put the puck in the net, and the Buffalo Sabres continue to learn the hard way that the old adage still holds true.

Toronto did all their scoring in the first period, and Jonas Gustavsson posted his first career win against Buffalo as the Toronto Maple Leafs shutout the Sabres 2-0 at the Air Canada Center on Tuesday.

This loss was Buffalo’s seventh in a row on the road, and the sixth straight road game where they have scored two goals or fewer. The Sabres also dropped to 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, and have only scored one goal or less in five of the 10 games.

The lack of offensive production isn’t lost on head coach Lindy Ruff, who was left shaking his head again after watching his team outshoot Toronto by a 32-28 margin on the night.

“I’ve seen stretches where you don’t score. This might be my toughest stretch as a coach where pucks won’t go in the net.”

LISTEN TO LINDY RUFF'S FULL POST-GAME AUDIO

The Sabres were forced to play the final two periods without their leading goal scorer, as Thomas Vanek was felled by a stomach bug after playing just four minutes on six shifts in the opening period. Ruff said another unnamed player was affected too, and wouldn’t rule out food poisoning as the cause because they both ate at the same restaurant.

All the Toronto scoring came in the first period, and it started with more bad luck that came back to haunt the Sabres.

Moments after being robbed by Jonas Gustavsson’s glove hand, Drew Stafford took a delay of game penalty when his clearing attempt ended up inside the penalty box. Nikolai Kulemin wasted no time in getting Toronto on the board on the power play, stuffing the puck past Miller from the edge of the crease at 8:22.

Mikhail Grabovski then made it 2-0 when he sliced down the middle and roofed a backhand over Miller’s shoulder while eluding a diving Patrick Kaleta.
 
“It starts with the delay of game penalty with me shooting the puck over the boards giving them an early power play,” Stafford said. “They had another chance they capitalized on, on a neutral zone play. We turned it up after the start, but we lost a couple of guys and had a short bench. I thought we were making plays, getting pucks on net. But they just buried their chances.”

He’s a marked man, definitely a marked man ... I'm worried about him. - Lindy Ruff on Patrick Kaleta
While the Maple Leafs were one-for-three on the power play, the Sabres didn’t have one power play attempt for the first time since January 9, 2009. Ruff said he identified several plays throughout the game that he thought should’ve been called against Toronto.

“That was tough to figure out. They had one player who carried a puck a good two strides. They had (Nazem) Kadri who hit our player Leoopld in the same fashion (as Patrick Kaleta). There was calls there, I couldn’t figure it out.”

One of Toronto man advantage situations came after Kaleta was called for charging early in the third. In Ruff’s view, it was another instance of Kaleta being targeted by the officials.

“Kaleta just can’t hit anybody anymore. He can’t. Anytime he hits somebody it’s a penalty. He knows that. He can’t hit anymore.”

Ruff continued: “He’s a marked man, definitely a marked man. When Kadri can do what he did on Leopold, which is very similar. And Kaleta doesn’t leave his feet; I don’t think he hit him that hard. It used to be a good hit in the game and you’d get a penalty. I’m worried about him. I’m worried that he can’t play his game.”

NOTES: Derek Roy (upper body) and Christian Ehrhoff (upper body) were Buffalo’s scratches. Roy took the pre-game warmup, but was forced to miss his second straight game after being injured in Carolina last Friday. Ehrhoff was injured in Washington on December 30, and has now missed five games … Toronto has won two of the first three games in the six-game season series. The same two teams will meet again on Friday at First Niagara Center in a 7:30 p.m. faceoff.

SCHEDULE

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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