Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

January 1, 2007

TIM SCHMITT: Sabres win, but power play still snoring

COMMENTARY

BUFFALO — New Year’s Day was made for La-Z-Boys, not the blue plastic chairbacks at HSBC Arena. Add in a 4 p.m. faceoff and the Sabres’ 20th sellout crowd was destined for something more banausic than breathtaking Monday, the small buzz surrounding Ted Nolan’s return notwithstanding.

Lindy Ruff even alluded to the hushed crowd during his postgame press conference, yielding a room full of chuckles when he noted that, “a late night and an early game hurt our fans. Our fans weren’t sharp tonight.”

It’s true. Kiss cam might as well have been snooze cam as Buffalo churned out a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders with a mixture of good goaltending and an incredible individual effort from Maxim Afinogenov.

The good news is the new year rolled in like the old one bolted, with two points. The bad news is the power play did the same. Buffalo did bang one in with the extra man — Paul Gaustad’s golf swing gave the hosts the ever-important first strike — but the Sabres followed with four uninspired opportunities.

Buffalo managed a power-play goal in each of the four victories during this holiday homestand, but it’s a far cry from the guns-a-blarin’ specialty unit that ravaged the league last season. The Sabres came into Monday’s game 18th in the league in power-play efficiency, scoring on less than 17 percent of their chances.

Put simply, Buffalo’s power play, much like Monday’s crowd, seems sleepy.

“We’ve had some good power plays and some bad power plays. There’s times when we’re really out of sync and there’s times when we really pass it well,” Ruff said. “We’ve got to keep working at it. Sometimes our passing has been very poor coming up ice, sometimes it’s been excellent.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro Sports
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page