Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

January 12, 2008

SABRES NOTEBOOK: Checking line continues to impress

BUFFALO — Lost in the aftermath of the Sabres ninth-straight loss, a 3-2 shootout loss to New Jersey at HSBC Arena on Saturday, was another supreme effort from the checking line of Daniel Paille, Drew Stafford and Paul Gaustad.

Not only did the trio produce the team’s only two goals — Paille scored both in the opening period with Stafford assisting on the first and Gaustad on the other — but coach Lindy Ruff again felt comfortable enough to give the line considerable play late in the game.

Paille logged 16:23 in ice time, his high since Thanksgiving. And Gaustad again took many of the key draws down the stretch, winning 11 of the 18 he took on the night.

For Paille, the night brought the game’s first star and a plus-2, raising his team-leading total to plus-11 on the season.

No wonder Ruff continues to call on the scrappy winger from Welland, Ont.

Paille’s strategy on his second goal, which he scored from the corner, snapping it from just a few inches in front of the red line?

“I just shot it on net,” he said. I figured I’d do that.”


With an anemic offense that had produced just five goals in the previous three starts, it seems everyone associated with the Sabres gets excited when the team comes close to scoring.

In the second period, Henrik Tallinder fluttered a shot that jumped over the right shoulder of Martin Brodeur, but clearly bounced off the post and out.

The horn at HSBC Arena went off, followed by the siren, even though play continued. At the next whistle, referees reviewed the play, but the call stood.


Patrick Kaleta’s hit watch continued on Saturday as the gritty forward threw his body around again and continued to get decent ice time.

Kaleta took a run at Jamie Langenbrunner in the first period near the New Jersey bench, but just missed him. He then connected with John Madden on a big hit in the second and later got a decent piece of Travis Zajac although the St. Francis product didn’t get a full head of steam before the hit.

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