PITTSBURGH -- The Sabres had better be mentally focused for their game in Pittsburgh tonight or that day off they were planning to have Sunday could go bye-bye.
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told his players he was not happy during a team meeting this morning, and it was easy to tell when he met with the media afterward.
"There’s some areas of our game I was really disappointed in," Ruff said. "There was some mental areas where I was disappointed. I really think we need to improve. I wasn’t happy, and they know I’m not happy. I haven’t been happy for days about that, and I’m going to continue to grind on it."
He said some players, particularly his young ones, lost focus during the Christmas break.
"With younger players, it takes a while for preparation," Ruff said. "When they get away from you for two, three days, it makes it tough on you."
Then he ripped the line of Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov.
"I didn’t like the Roy line, even in the second and third period," he said. "I especially didn’t like some of the things they did in the third period. That’s part of the mental part of our game that has to improve."
"I had told them going in this was going to be a one-goal game. It’ll be a one-goal game. The guys that have scored for [New Jersey] in the last two games have been [Patrik] Elias and [Brian] Gionta, with an empty net. The first star of the game had been Elias the last two games. In a 1-0 game, you’ve got to win 1-0. I felt that even in the third period we lost focus of winning a game 1-0.
"I thought we handed them some glorious opportunities to get back in the game, that’s the part that bothered me."
In other news, Ryan Miller will again get the start in goal for the Sabres. Pittsburgh will go with Ty Conklin, the former Sabres backup who is 4-0.