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Sabres hopeful their slumping players will start chipping in offensively

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Sabres' lineup is littered with players missing opportunities. Coach Lindy Ruff hopes tonight's game in Tampa Bay turns into a slump buster.

Ville Leino has found the net in just one of the last 22 games. Thomas Vanek has four goals in 28 games. Patrick Kaleta has gone 19 games without a goal. Cody Hodgson doesn't have a point in his 10 games with Buffalo. Derek Roy has one goal in nine games.

The line of Tyler Ennis in the middle of left wing Marcus Foligno and right wing Drew Stafford has combined for eight goals and 10 assists in the last four games. The Sabres need at least a little production from the Leino-Hodgson-Vanek and Corey Tropp-Roy-Jason Pominville trios.

"One line will get hot," Ruff said today in Tampa Bay Times Forum. "We need that secondary to pick it up for us. We’re hoping that the Roy line can kick some in, and obviously Cody’s line we hope they take advantage of some of the chances they’ve had inside of games."

Ruff has not yet lost faith in Hodgson.

"I actually thought he skated better in this last game," Ruff said. "He had a couple situations where he got in behind them. He made some good plays. He made a heck of a play to Thomas where Thomas’ slap shot in the slot was blocked. I thought he defended well, made a couple plays, good breakups defensively.

"I think in his case it’s just keep doing what he’s doing, try to create the opportunities when they’re there, try to be ready to shoot when you get the opportunity, and I told him not to put a lot of pressure on himself. I said, “I’m not looking at … we’d love to see points on the board, but you’ve got to play your position and you’ve got to take what’s out there.’"

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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