Kukla's Korner Hockey
by @DaveDavisHockey on 01/25/11 at 03:52 PM ET
The Buffalo Sabres’ lack of sympathy for the misfortunes of the free falling Ottawa Senators should be in full display tonight at Scotiabank Place.
The streaking Sabres need every point they can get, and if that means figuratively kicking their already wounded division rival in the stomach on their way out the door towards the All-Star break, then so be it.
In their last 12 games, the Sabres are 8-3-1 while the Sens are 1-8-3. Ottawa will start Brian Elliott, who is winless in his last 10 starts, in goal tonight.
Still, it’s not like the Sabres don’t have issues of their own. They need to win this one just to get within four points of eighth place. The defense is still shaky. To be honest, not a whole lot of fans and media here are taking the streak too seriously.
And the team is hurting. Derek Roy is on the shelf probably until training camp. Tim Connolly and Patrick Kaleta are out tonight, Drew Stafford is questionable, and Thomas Vanek is playing with pain in an undisclosed area north of the waist. Every club certainly has injuries, but not too many teams have four inactive or hurting forwards from their top two lines.
So then where did this streak come from? The big difference between now and earlier this season is that Buffalo is finally holding on to win the close ones. During this 12 game run, the Sabres have only outscored their opponents 37-35 in regulation, but in that stretch Buffalo has produced a 4-0-1 record in 1-goal games.
Keep an eye on forward Nathan Gerbe, who has been making a statement this past week. He has 4 goals and 5 points with a +4 rating in his last 3 games, and he’s led his team in shots on goal in all of them. He’s been involved. Against Boston last week, the 5’5” forward was an annoying nuisance to Zdeno Chara. Considering how much flack he was taking this season for being ineffective, for Sabres fans his turnaround has been a joy to watch.
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