The Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators combined for a total of 57 shots on Monday night at HSBC Arena. The scoring chances, however, were few and far between for both sides.
“There wasn’t much going on for that game, there wasn’t much going on for 40 minutes… by either team,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. “It was a turnover fest. It was frustrating.”
The Sabres were responsible for nine giveaways while the Predators gave up six. Both teams struggled to produce any lucrative chances.
“It was tough… there wasn’t a lot of flow in that game,” Clarke MacArthur said. “At the same time it’s no excuse. They weren’t getting any bounces either early. They just ended up going harder at the end and getting a win.”
The game was a far cry from the teams' last meeting on Feb. 27, 2008 - an 8-4 blowout win for Buffalo.
Both teams, however, played three games in four nights and Buffalo finished a stint of four games in six nights.
“We’re not going to take that as an excuse at all,” Jason Pominville
said. “We wanted to do the right things but we didn’t. The fatigue wasn’t part of it. We’re not a group to blame a loss on that.
“We gave them the outside and didn’t give them many opportunities, but offensively we didn’t generate... It’s been a few games like that…we have to get back to the things we do well.”
The Sabres hope that a few days off will help them regroup as they continue Thursday night to take on the Florida Panthers.
“We have two days between games and we have to make sure on the road that we play a simple game,” Jaroslav Spacek said. “We’ve had good success on the road and we just have to play smarter hockey than we did today.”
Craig Rivet was absent from the contest with an upper body injury he suffered in Saturday’s game in Montreal.
Ruff had no timeframe for the captain’s return.
“He tried [to skate] this morning but just came off and said ‘no good’,” Ruff said.
Pat Kaleta was also out with a “head/neck” injury after taking a hit from Canadiens’ forward Andrei Kostitsyn, while Ales Kotalik played for the first time in seven games after a hamstring injury.
The Sabres penalty-killing unit continued their streak tonight after fending off a delay of game penalty in the first period and an interference call in the second.
Buffalo has not allowed a power play goal since an empty netter with two seconds left in regulation against the Islanders on Nov. 22. In their last match-up with Montreal, they killed off five penalties, including a two-minute 5-on-3 advantage.
The Sabres are now 86-99 (86.8) killing penalties this season. Chrissy Foster