Posted February 27, 2013 on
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The Buffalo Sabres finally have something positive to build on under interim coach Ron Rolston.
Coming off their first victory with Rolston behind the bench, the visiting Sabres try to avoid a third straight defeat to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
After being outscored 7-1 in the first two games following longtime coach Lindy Ruff's firing last Wednesday, Buffalo (7-12-1) tightened up defensively and received a timely goal from Tyler Myers early in the third period to win 2-1 at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
The victory snapped a four-game slide and offers something positive moving forward for a Sabres team that's fighting to get out of last place in the Eastern Conference.
"Just the battle level and the competitive nature we had (Tuesday) was outstanding," said Rolston, who was coaching Buffalo's AHL affiliate when he was tabbed to replace Ruff. "You could just feel it on the bench, the guys, how dialed in they were. I'm really happy for our team.
"We've seen a lot of really good signs, and we just needed something to keep us moving in the right direction."
Ryan Miller made 30 saves for the Sabres, who still rank among the worst in the league with 64 goals allowed. Though Buffalo has scored just four times in its last four games - going 0 for 13 on the power play in that stretch - the latest effort could be a sign of progress.
"I think there's been some hard work over the course of the season," said Miller, whose 2.83 goals-against average is his worst in eight seasons. "The battle was there, but the smarts are coming back around."
Buffalo, which is 2-6-0 since last winning consecutive games Feb. 7 and 9, hopes it has built enough momentum to avenge a 4-3 home loss to Florida (6-9-4) on Feb. 3.
Tomas Kopecky had a pair of assists for the Panthers in that contest, and added another while recording his first career hat trick in Tuesday's 6-4 home win over Pittsburgh. Florida blew a three-goal lead against the Penguins, but scored twice in the third period to avoid a third consecutive defeat.
"We're a desperate team and we needed it," former Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell told the Panthers' official website. "We can fold up and not compete but there's a lot of fight in this team. We have a ways to go but we're working on getting better."
Campbell, who scored the game-winning goal on the power play at Buffalo earlier this month, recorded a goal and two assists Tuesday, all with the man advantage. The Panthers went 4 of 7 on the power play against Pittsburgh after going 1 for 24 while losing seven of their previous eight.
"It's been a couple of weeks here that we haven't been able to generate much on the power play, so it was good for our group to go out there," coach Kevin Dineen said. "I just think confidence, success, breeds success."
Kopecky, who has never scored more than 15 goals in a season, has recorded six of his eight over the last six games.
Buffalo's Thomas Vanek ended a three-game point drought with two assists Tuesday, and had three points in the first meeting with the Panthers. Vanek ranks among the NHL leaders with 12 goals but has one in his last eight games.
BEST OF MAXIM
After the Sabres played listless hockey for every non-Bruins game in the last month, fans clamored for head coach Lindy Ruff’s termination. Not only was Ruff’s message to the team and the system he employed growing stale, but the very idea of having a coach for this long grew stale. It was a novelty for a long time in Buffalo to have a coach whose tenure was unmatched by all...
(January 19, 2013 – Source: Rick Stewart/Getty Images North America)
Mikhail Grigorenko has had himself quite a disappointing rookie season, to say the least. The 18-year old prospect has just a goal and two assists in 16 games this season; he has seen his ice time bounce around more than a child on a trampoline.
He has been scratched four times this season, three of which came...
The Buffalo Sabres pulled out a come from behind, 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. The victory marks the first time in almost two weeks the Sabres were able to take the lead, and hold onto it for the win. Ryan Miller had perhaps his best night of the season, making 30 saves and leaving the Lightning scoreless on their power play opportunities.... Read more
Nathan Gerbe scored his first two goals of the season, Ryan Miller made 38 saves and the Buffalo Sabres beat the struggling Florida Panthers 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night.
Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville both scored in the tiebreaker for Buffalo. Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller missed their attempts for Florida.
Tyler Ennis also scored in regulation for the Sabres and...
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Tyler Myers and Ryan Miller helped give Ron Rolston a memorable night.
Myers scored a go-ahead goal early in third period, Miller made 30 saves, and Rolston won for the first time as Buffalo's interim coach in the Sabres' 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
"It was great, especially the way it was done," Rolston said...
Two Lightning turnovers resulted in two goals for the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night as they went on to beat Tampa Bay 2-1. Steven Stamkos put the Lightning on the board first when a rebound off a Ryan Miller save went right to him off a Teddy Purcell shot. Later in the first period, defenseman Victor Hedman was unable to clear the puck out of the defensive zone as it was intercepted...
The Sabres skated today in Sunrise, Florida. John Vogl of The Buffalo News reported these line combos at the practice session.
John Scott is the extra forward. Why, I donât know? Hecht hasnât scored a goal in twenty games this season. Iâd sit Hecht and play Scott in his place. Gerbe hasnât scored in sixteen games. Can...
The Sabres have now gone a year without Paul Gaustad.
It's been that long already. A year ago from today, the Sabres sent Gaustad to Nashville for a pick. The Sabres also sent Kassian and Gragnani to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer.
âLong-term, itâll turn out to be a good day,â said Regier.
While it's only...
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The Buffalo Sabres came to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Tuesday night, failed to generate chances, took plenty of penalties, and did just about everything they could to ensure that the Lightning walked out with a win and two points. Unfortunately, your Tampa Bay Lightning failed to pick up on the Sabresâ not-so-subtle gestures...
This weeks Water Cooler features QCS writers Mike Straw, Jason Davis, Ryan Talbot, Brandon Hess, and Bradley Gelber.
How important was it for the Sabres to finally get their first win under Ron Rolston out of the way Tuesday, taking down Tampa Bay?
Jason Davis: Very important. You want to see the new coach notch his first win quickly to ease any stress of going on a prolonged losing...
The good news is Mikhail Grigorenko will play in Sunrise.
The bad news is he's riding dirty with John Scott and Pat Kaleta. The kid will work sick give and go plays with his skilled linies.
Say hello to 5 or less minutes of TOI, and no PP time for Grigo.
How can the kid earn more minutes when his coach is playing him 8-10 shifts per game.
Remember when Barry Melrose...
Notes from todayâs game day skate in Tampa:
â¢ Ryan Miller will face Mathieu Garon tonight. Yet another back-up goal tender to face the Sabres.
â¢ Jordan Leopold did not skate this morning. Heâs been nursing an upper body deal. If he canât play, and itâs likely that he wonât be able to, then T.J. Brennan would get the call.
The Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets have broken the seal on firing season in the NHL.
Buffalo dismissed longtime coach Lindy Ruff last week, a little more than a week after Columbus let go of general manager Scott Howson following five-plus seasons.
Some men behind benches and in front offices may not be resting easy these days.
With stakes high in other cities, Nashville...