The Sabres' last chance for a February win comes tonight at 7 when the San Jose Sharks are the opponent in HSBC Arena. The Sharks are tied with Washington atop the NHL standing with 89 points but Buffalo dominated much of the play when the teams met out West last month, before three late goals gave the Sharks a 5-2 win. The Sabres had a 40-24 advantage in shots in the game.
"We were moving the puck real well, getting in there on the forecheck and really pounding the puck on it so it was tough on their D," Sabres center Derek Roy said following today's morning skate. "We got a lot of loose pucks and had a lot of shots on net. We hit three posts during the game and those are game-changers."
"They capitalized on their chances and we didn't," added winger Clarke MacArthur. "We had a lot of shots. The first period we really dominated and didn't get that cushion we needed. They're so good that you give them chances and they'll score so we have to be really good tonight. Offensively, we can be as strong as anyone. We have to bury our chances more."
After tonight's game, players are off until Feb. 24 because of the Olympics. Buffalo's next game isn't until March 2 in Pittsburgh, and the next home game is March 3 against Washington.
The Sabres are 0-4-2 in their last six and just 2-7-3 in their last 12. Ouch.
"If you're going to have a bad month, this is a good month to have it in because it's only two weeks," said coach Lindy Ruff.
San Jose, meanwhile, is 4-1 in its last five -- all on the road -- and 12-2-2 in its last 16. Double ouch.
The Sabres will make no lineup changes tonight. That means Patrick Kaleta, Andrej Sekera and Nathan Paetsch will be the scratches. Ryan Miller (29-14-7, 2.19, .930) will be in goal against NHL victory co-leader Evgeni Nabakov (34-8-9, 2.24, .928). Miller, of course, is mirroring his team with a brutal February (0-3-2, 3.56, .890). Nabakov meanwhile, is 10-1-2 in his last 13 games.
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