Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

February 16, 2009

SABRES NOTEBOOK: Goalie switch doesn’t give Sabres momentum

BUFFALO — After watching his team surrender 18 shots in the first period, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff decided he’d seen enough on Sunday.

With no disrespect to Ryan Miller, who had stopped 16 of those shots, Ruff decided at the break to insert Patrick Lalime for just the second time in over a month.

Ruff said following the team’s 3-0 loss to Carolina that he wasn’t unhappy with Miller’s showing, he simply hoped his team would get more focused.

“I explained, we weren’t playing well enough in front of him. I said we’re going to put Patty in and maybe you’ll play a little better in front of him,” Ruff said. “Ryan can’t skate up the ice and compete from the blueline down. I thought he did his part.”

Craig Rivet corroborated Ruff’s story, and said the coach’s comments should put the Sabres on notice.

“It’s a tough situation on the goaltenders when we’re leaving them out to dry like that,” Rivet said. “Obviously, we’ve been relying on our goaltenders far too much. He told us if we’re not going to work for one goaltender, maybe we’ll work for another.

“Right there, that’s pretty embarrassing for all the players in this room.”

Lalime started by making a spectacular save in the second period on Ray Whitney, just after a puck hit Anton Babchuk in the face.

Whitney came in and deked, Lalime went to the ice and it appeared that Whitney would easily stick the puck in an empty side. Lalime somehow reached his arm out, though, and made the save.

Lalime was helped out on an ensuing power play when the Hurricanes hit a pair of goal posts, but played well enough on the night to earn third-star honors.

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