Getting out of Buffalo this morning to beat the snow, the Sabres are out on Long Island getting ready for tomorrow's game with the Islanders. Both teams with nine points on the season at this point.
It's a chance to put back-to-back wins together for the first time since the start of the season after Thursday's shootout win over Montreal. Once again it was Thomas Vanek leading the way with two third period goals to force overtime. Going into the weekend, Vanek leads the NHL in goals with 10 and points with 21.
"He's just got the knack, he knows where to go," head coach Lindy Ruff said. "And when he's riding a hot stretch, sometimes he's unstoppable."
"It's awesome to watch, isn't it? He's been finding a way, he's been magical," forward Steve Ott said. "He's been chipping things around, but it's his work ethic. He wants to win in this dressing room and he's proving it to all of us."
The focus now shifts to trying to start a winning streak, starting Saturday night.
"As much as we've tried to stay positive and stay away from the mistakes and try to ride through this tough stretch, it really is about winning the next game already," Ruff said. "About putting this one behind us, and focusing on getting better and getting on a run because we've got some ground to make up."
A win's a win, but a disturbing trend continued Thursday night. For the sixth straight game, the Sabres allowed four or more goals. Ryan Miller has been in net for five of those games, but the blame doesn't fall solely on the goaltender's shoulders.
All around defense has been at issue since the start of the season. The Sabres' 41 goals against is tied for last in the NHL, and the team hasn't allowed less than three goals in a game since its first two wins (nine games).
"Yeah it wasn't pretty," Miller said. "We just have to find a way to do it right now until we can get ourselves a bit more organized and some guys start clicking here, myself included. Gotta come up with a save or two, and keep that game manageable for us. We're not going to be able to do that every night and we know that."
Adam Pardy's time with the Sabres is done for now. With the defense getting healthy, Pardy was sent back to the Rochester Americans. He was called up due to injuries to Andrej Sekera, Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr. In his time with the Sabres, Pardy had one point and two penalty minutes.