Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

May 14, 2007

SABRES: Power play regresses in Game 3 loss

GAME NOTEBOOK

KANATA, Ontario — It’s become a running joke, a question that’s been asked so often that the Sabres should have scripted answers by this point. What the heck is wrong with this team’s power play?

Buffalo remained scoreless in 18 chances against Ottawa during the Eastern Conference finals, and it’s clearly a difference maker in a series that’s one Senators’ win from completion.

“They’re pressuring us hard. We’ve got to find ways to get set up and get some pucks on the net,” Jason Pominville said. “We’re still trying to make the pretty plays instead of the long plays and they’re clogging us up.”

Lindy Ruff said the power play had chances in Game 2, but just didn’t capitalize. On Monday, however, he credited Ottawa’s penalty killing for keeping the Sabres under wraps.

“Ottawa has done a tremendous job of killing. They’re a good killing team,” he said. “We need to generate something that could give us life. Tonight, the penalty killing was a lot more prevalent over the power plays.”

•••

Buffalo’s 15 shots were the least the Sabres put on an opponent all season long. The Sabres previous low was 16 shots against Florida on December 14.

“I can’t say I would ever imagine that,” Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. “As I watched this group of players work and play and be disciplined, I’m not totally shocked. A little surprised, but not totally shocked because they’ve done a heck of a job here.”

•••

Monday’s tight game kept a tradition alive between the two teams — in 10 of the last 12 games, the winning margin has been just a single goal.

When the Senators one Game 1 by a 5-2 count, it marked the first time in the playoff rivalry that a team had won by more than one goal since April 27, 1997.

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