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Sabres looking forward to a few days off after playing through difficult month @NHLdotcom

TORONTO - The Buffalo Sabres are ready for a few days off.

After their 3-2 loss in Toronto on Thursday night, the Sabres don't play again until after Christmas. And with Buffalo falling out of a playoff spot on their current three-game losing streak, the team feels the break could be good to get their heads together.

"The effort's there ? we're competing, we're working hard, we're generating but it's those little plays, those little mistakes that are costing us right now," said captain Jason Pominville, who scored Buffalo's first goal Thursday.

"At times we're the first team to crack and they make a play and score on us."

It's been a tough month for the Sabres. They've had just three wins in December, six regulars are injured and leading scorer Thomas Vanek is playing through an injury.

Apart from a light skate early Friday morning, the Sabres are off until Boxing Day when they host the Washington Capitals. They hope the effort they feel they?ve been putting out will be rewarded with a little luck and some better results.

"We just haven't had much ricochet and bounces go our way," said head coach Lindy Ruff. "You generate that number of opportunities and our two power plays in the second period I thought did a great job but we're getting caught with the odd mistake that just is victimizing us."

Buffalo is also hoping that the few days off will be kind to Vanek, who leads the team with 17 goals and 35 points. He was only able to put two periods of work in Thursday night and had missed the previous two practices with a reported upper-body injury.

"I think he's just day to day. It's the same thing he???s been nursing," said Ruff. "We didn't have a lot of options. He tried to get through it and wasn't able to."

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