After spending plenty of time in the Sabres' locker room the last couple days, I can report there's plenty of anger in there. And that's a very good thing. Now, frankly, I wish there was some anger taken out on the ice Wednesday in Ottawa against Jarkko Ruutu but you're still trying to get two points. And since the wheels of NHL justice didn't spin, the rematch here Dec. 26 could get quite interesting.
But the anger I'm talking about comes in the wake of Wednesday's 2-0 loss. It's easy to whitewash that one away. At least seven guys down with food poisoning (Tyler Myers told me today it was the chicken at the Ottawa restaurant that's been targeted as the culprit), and the fact it came at the end of a three-game trip makes it a somewhat excuseable loss. And it came at the end of a trip that already featured wins in New York and Montreal. In the past, those thoughts might have been palatable.
But when I threw the two out of three theory around the room, here are some answers I got:
Ryan Miller: "There's not much separation and you can't think so highly of yourself. You have to be just a little bit paranoid and do the work and know there's a team trying to breathe down your neck, creep up behind you and steal your spot. We've had a good start. I'm happy with it. But you look at the standings and if you have a bad week, you're back with everybody else on the outside of the playoff bubble. That's how it is."
Patrick Lalime: "You want to win every game in this league. You can't be satisfied with two out of three. Your mindset has to be to win them all and not take any days off. That's what we're trying to achieve here and that will help us in the future too."
Derek Roy: "We always want to say when we've won three or four in a row that we're good, we're good. But it's easy to lose three or four in a row too. Every night is a battle, a tough grind. We slip points away like that when you're on a winning streak, you want to keep riding it and not go the other way. Millsy gave us a chance. He was playing unbelievable. Third period we gave up that goal when we still had a chance to pull him and get the game tied. Not good enough. The effort has to come from that first shift to the last shift."
Myers: "Three out of three is a lot better. I wasn't here last year but a lot of guys talk about how close they were to getting in the playoffs. That don't want that feeling again this year."