The Sabres didn't skate this morning and instead hunkered down in their locker room for a video session. Pretty standard for the second day of a back-to-back. Would have liked to have been a fly on the wall for that popcorn-less session after last night's collapse in Philadelphia, where a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes turned into a 7-2 debacle.
"We still believe. We've just got to put together 60 minutes," Derek Roy insisted today. "For 20 minutes last night, we looked like a really, really good team. The last 40 we looked terrible."
Sure did. Blown defensive coverages all over the place, missed scoring opportunities, an 0-for-6 night on the power play and even a too many man on the ice penalty during one man advantage. It added up to one of the worst nights in recent team history. The team is so mentally fragile that once bad things happen, they're cooked.
"I don't know if it's mental toughness," said captain Jason Pominville. "They got momentum, they scored on a power play, we took a penalty we shouldn't have taken that led to 4-on-4 play and they scored on the power play again. We gave up opportunities they didn't even have to work for."
"You're in another building, youre up two goals and they go out and score a goal, you just have to go out there and keep making plays," Roy said. "You can't stray away from the game plan. You have to mentally be focused and know what you've got to do out there on the ice."
The Sabres meet Montreal tonight at 7:30 in First Niagara Center and the glass is half-full view is that Buffalo is 3-0 against the Habs this year -- all in the Bell Centre -- and has won six straight games vs. them overall. Montreal, coached by former Sabres player and assistant Randy Cunneyworth, is 4-1-1 in its last six.
The Habs lead the NHL in penalty killing (88.9 percent overall and 91.9 percent on the road). Buffalo is 20th on the power play -- but went 0 for 6 last night, is 1 for 24 in the last nine games and just 4 for 47 since the calendar hit 2012. The Sabres failed twice last night with the man-advantage when a goal would have made it 3-0.
"We ended up having eight chances to put it away and when you don't put them away, it just fits what's been going on," said coach Lindy Ruff. Brad Boyes was point-blank, Thomas [Vanek] hits a post. We had some situations we didn't take advantage of and that was a killer. Special teams was a killer last night."
Ryan Miller will start in goal tonight, with Ruff admitting today he nearly put Jhonas Enroth back in during the third period last night. Cody McCormick and Marc-Andre Gragnani are the scratches.
Hear the full interviews from Ruff, Pominville and Roy below.