Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

January 1, 2008

SABRES NOTEBOOK: Pens get early start in Classic

ORCHARD PARK — It didn’t take long for the Pittsburgh Penguins to get acclimated to the wintry weather at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Tuesday.

Just 21 seconds after the opening faceoff, Sidney Crosby swooped in around Brian Campbell and a rebound found the stick of Colby Armstrong, who poked it past Ryan Miller. The goal was the only one the team would score before a shootout in a 2-1 victory over the Sabres

For Armstrong, the goal was his third in as many games.

Buffalo tightened up its defense from there, however, by playing a simpler style of dumping it up the boards.

“We learned that after the first 10 minutes, I think you saw we changed our game a little where you just have to pound it out. It’s not going to go all the way down the ice,” defenseman Nathan Paestch said. “We said that after the first period, you have to eliminate D-to-D passes because you just don’t what’s going to happen with it and you don’t want mess around with it in your end. We were just trying to push it forward. It was almost a possession game.”

•••

Although passing through the slush was difficult, the Sabres’ only goal came on a nifty feed from Tim Connolly to Brian Campbell. Connolly lofted a pass over the sticks of Ryan Whitney and Jordan Staal that landed in front of Campbell, who hammered it past Ty Conklin.

Campbell, who now has two goals in his last games after scoring just two in his first 34, knew the goal was a big one with the sloppy weather conditions.

“You give up and early one there and you probably know it was going to be a low-scoring game,” he said. “It’s a nice feeling. You’ve just got to shoot as many pucks as you can, but obviously, Timmy made a great play on that goal.”

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