By Mike Harrington
TORONTO -- The Sabres have won two in a row for the first time this season. They go for three straight tonight in the Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ted Nolan's first goal is to see consistency from his new club.
"That's exactly what good hockey teams do," Nolan said during his pregame briefing with reporters in the 5 o'clock hour. "They've got to learn to play at a consistent level. ... Even with my son who plays in LA, that's one thing I always try to remind him. You can't do it one game, one period. You have to do it on a consistent basis, game-in and game-out."
The Sabres had a much better start than normal in Friday's scoreless first period, holding the Leafs to just five shots on goal.
"When you compete and you chase people and get on top of them real quick, that's what usually happens," Nolan said. "You give a bad player enough time, he's going to make a good play. We have to make sure we get on top of people with the puck. Back-pressure them. ... As I mentioned last night, I wasn't here before. I'm here now. We had a good start last night and I'm expecting another good start tonight."
As noted earlier today, the Sabres will use the same lineup as last night -- which means Ryan Miller in goal and Mikhail Grigorenko, Johan Larsson and Nikita Zadorov as healthy scratches and Mike Weber as an injured scratch. Nolan said he's not a winning-lineup-stays-coach but circumstances dictate it tonight.
"If you get two points, it doesn't mean everybody played well," Nolan said. "There's going to be certain people who don't. Right now I have to rely on what we had last night and see it again."
Nolan said defenseman Henrik Tallinder has been added as an alternate captain, joining Christian Ehrhoff. The Sabres had been playing with one 'A' since Thomas Vanek was traded. Tallinder wore the A in Anaheim when Ehrhoff was out with an injury.
Said Nolan of Tallinder: "From the first time I said hello to him, you could look in the guy's eyes and say this guy sincerely cares."
Click the audio file below to hear Nolan's complete comments, including thoughts on Drew Stafford, Ville Leino and the work of his assistant coaches last night.
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