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Sabres Offensive Woes Continue

For the second time this season, the Buffalo Sabres failed to score more than 2 goals. For the second straight night, the Sabres fell to the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-1. A crowd of 18,824 were on hand at the First Niagara Center.

The penalty box in the first period was pretty occupied. The teams had a combined 34 penalty minutes. Steve Ott and Tim Gleason dropped the gloves with Gleason landing some good punches on Ott. The Sabres have had a tough time staying out of the penalty box and are one of the least disciplined teams. Through 4 games, the Sabres have 84 PIMs, which is good for 4th most in the NHL. F Patrick Kaleta is among the top 10 in PIM with 18.

The second period was much like the first, no scoring. Both goaltenders Ryan Miller and Dan Ellis made some great saves in the frame. Vanek had a break-away chance early in the 2nd period but Ellis made the save. Carolina’s best chance was when F Eric Staal had a break-away and hit the post. Right behind him was F Joni Pitkanen who grabbed the rebound but Miller was there for the save.

All would change in the 3rd period. Jordan Staal tripped up Drew Stafford and made his way to the penalty box. Vanek grabbed the puck from the corner, made his way to the net and beat Ellis top shelf to make it 1-0. The goal was Vanek’s 3rd of the season. Jason Pominville and Christian Ehroff had assists on the goal.

It would be Carolina’s turn to make the most of a power-play opportunity. A Marcus Foligno high-sticking penalty had Carolina with the man-advantage. First-year Hurricane Alexander Semin beat Miller top shelf, very similar to the Vanek goal to make it 1-1. With a little under 5 minutes left, Carolina would strike again. Eric Staal won a face-off and drew it back to Jay Harrison. Harrison let a wrister go and Miller didn’t see it to make it 2-1. Jeff Skinner would later add an empty-net goal to make it 3-1. Said Jason Pominville “we have to play defensively sound to win games” and “we’re giving up too many shots”.

MillerStopsJStaal
Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) blocks a shot by Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) in the second period at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013.
(James P. McCoy / Buffalo News)

Is the Mikhail Grigorenko experiment over? The 18 yr-old played the least amount he has so far with 6:48 of ice-time. He had ZERO shifts in the 3rd period. Grigorenko has one more game before the front-office decides to keep him in Buffalo or send him back to the minors.

Game Notes:
The Sabres are now dead last in Face-Off Percentage at 40.6% (102-251)
Ryan Miller finished with 39 saves and Dan Ellis finished with 40 saves.
Thomas Vanek is tied for the lead-league in points with 9 and right behind him is Jason Pominville with 8.
F Ville Leino is still out with a lower-body injury.
The Staal brothers, Eric (3g-1a) and Jordan (0g-3a) combined for 7 points in the back-to-back games vs. Buffalo.
The Sabres will travel to Washington to play the Capitals Sunday 3:00pm ET.

Bob Duggan

Bob Duggan

Huge Sabres and hockey fan! Attends several games a year. Enjoys seeing Coaches Corner and Don Cherry. Glad there is an NHL season! Sabres winning the Cup in 2013! Follow me on twitter @dugganbob
Bob Duggan

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