BUFFALO, N.Y. (October 1, 2013) — Buffalo Sabres head coach Ron Rolston today announced he has named forwards Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott team captains. Vanek will serve as captain for home games and Ott will serve as captain for away games. Rolston has also named Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff the team’s alternate captain for all games.
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- The Sabres have now scored a power play goal in each of their last four games; they are 6-for-14 (42.9%) during that stretch.
- The Sabres fell to 12-9-6 in one-goal games this year.
- With his ninth power play goal of the season, Thomas Vanek entered a three-way tie with Chris Kunitz and John Tavares for third-most in the league.
- Vanek’s goal was the 248th of his career, pushing him past Mike Foligno (247) for sixth-most in franchise history. He trails Craig Ramsay by four goals for fifth-most.
- With the loss, Jhonas Enroth falls to 4-1-1 in his last six starts, with a .956 save percentage and a 1.47 goals against average.
- With his assist, Tyler Ennis extended his point streak to four games (1+4).
- Drew Stafford is now on a three-game point streak (1+2).
Sabres forward Thomas Vanek:
On his goal: “Yeah, it started off from a good play by Drew [Stafford] to go across, changing sides. Then [I] found a good little hole in the middle, and [Tyler] Ennis made a good pass and I just chipped it in.”
On the offside call near the end of the game: “Yeah, I mean, it was a good play. It happened quick, I just caught it off my toe. And it actually hit a skate and almost still went in. It’s a play we’ve worked on and talked about and almost executed but not good enough.”
On the play of goaltender Jhonas Enroth: “I thought Jhonas [Enroth] played great. I think they outshot us a good amount. I thought a lot of them were on the outside, but at the same time they got rewarded by shooting pucks on the net, and I thought we had some good chances. We had some tap-ins that we missed. If you can’t score, you can’t score.”
Sabres forward Steve Ott:
On how tough it is for veterans knowing they don’t have many chances: “You know, it’s the worst. You want to be a playoff team, there’s no hiding about that. That’s something we all start and train so hard to have a chance at the Stanley Cup and when you don’t have that chance its tough. We have a lot of pride in this dressing room, and not only this dressing room but individually, I think hockey players as a whole have a lot of pride for the simple fact of how hard it is to become an NHL player, so anytime you get that opportunity to play in this league you can never take it for granted.”
On the teams’ mentalities for the game: “I mean, they had that mentality of wanting to be a playoff team, so their hopes were alive still. Obviously, for us it’s in the back of your mind. It’s just dwelling on us that we’re not a playoff team in here and that’s probably the difference in mentality-wise but pride-wise you still have to go out there and battle your [tail] off.”
On Jhonas Enroth’s play: “Jhonas was great. He was our best player by far. He came in and we knew he’d be strong. He’s been very strong for us I thought all year – both goalies for that fact. Extremely strong, our strongest part of our whole season has been those two guys. You need help in front of them, and we didn’t score enough goals and give them the help that they needed.”
Sabres forward Mikhail Grigorenko:
On looking more comfortable on the ice: “Yeah, I got some confidence back in the juniors (with Quebec). I played with confidence again. I was winning faceoffs and when I know I’m good at faceoffs it gives me some more confidence.”
On being better adjusted to the game: “Yeah, I was just trying to use my power and my size.”
On almost scoring a goal: “I’m a little disappointed I didn’t score. I had a couple chances and was around the goal maybe five times today, but I couldn’t score.”
Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec:
On his save on Thomas Vanek near the end of the game: “It just hit me. I don’t think I saw the shot, I just tried to go down and it just hit my pad, so [it was a] lucky one. We deserve [a win]. I think we played a really good game. I think we had a lot of shots, we had some opportunities. Their goalie played really well, and I think we deserved to win.”
On staying focused despite not being tested early: “It’s always hard, but it was because the guys played really well. I think we played great defensively, and they had one power play, one power-play goal. I just tried to focus, stay in the game. Like you said, there weren’t too many shots, so it was a little bit tough, but I think the guys did a great job and we deserved to win.”
On his success against Buffalo throughout his career: “It’s nothing special against them, I just try to play as hard as I can every game and just sometimes you’re lucky. … Overall this season, I think we played really well against Buffalo; we were 3-0 I think, so we just played great against them.
Jets forward Antti Miettinen:
On whether he was frustrated being a healthy scratch the last few games: “Not too bad. We’ve been winning games, we’ve been playing well, so it’s not the ideal situation, but it’s not the worst either.”
On his reaction to scoring the game-winning goal: “I didn’t really see how it got in there, I was just listening to the crowd.”
On what this win means for the Jets moving forward: “I think it wasn’t the easiest game for us, and to be able to win that is great, and we just have to be a little better tomorrow when we go into Washington.”
Jets forward Andrew Ladd:
On Enroth’s play and the Jets’ mindset to try to beat him: “Their goalie played really well. I thought we generated a lot of chances – especially early on – and he kept them in there. It’s always dangerous when their goalie is playing well and you can’t seem to pull away. (It) allows them to stay in the game, and they get a power-play goal and it’s a different game, but big goal by Miettinen, and find a way to win.”
On Pavelec’s play: “We’ve kind of learned to expect that from him. He’s oftentimes our best player every night, and to win hockey games you have to have that big save every now and then, and we’ve gotten that from him all season.”
On what the Jets’ win means for them moving forward: “We knew it was huge. I don’t think it’s a secret that we probably have to win the last three games to get into the postseason, so tonight was the first step. We didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but now we’ve taken that step and we can focus on Washington tomorrow and the biggest game of the year for us.”
- With the loss, the Sabres have officially been eliminated from playoff contention.
- Rookie defenseman Mark Pysyk scored his first NHL goal with 40 seconds remaining in the game.
- The Sabres have now scored a power play goal in three consecutive games for the second time this season. They are 5-for-13 on the power play in their last three games.
- Buffalo’s first and second goals, scored six seconds apart, were two seconds short of tying the franchise record (:04 seconds, Lee Fogolin and Don Luce, 10/17/74 vs. California). Nathan Gerbe scored twice in a five-second span on Jan. 21, 2011 vs. NYI.
- The seven-goal period was the highest-scoring period in a Sabres game since Jan. 1, 2011 vs. BOS (1st period, 4-3 BOS). The Sabres won the game, 7-6.
Sabres forward Thomas Vanek:
On the first period: “It was a close game, if you look at it, until a minute to go in the first, and then [after the] first minute of the second it’s 5-0 [and it’s] pretty much game over.”
On compete level: “For 19 minutes, I thought we played a tight game, back and forth, 5-on-5, and then we quit. It’s tough.”
Sabres defenseman Mike Weber:
On giving up three goals in the last 1:30 of the first period: “It’s deflating. Obviously bounces happen, we feel that we played extremely well in the first period up until that last minute of play. Again, flukey bounces, like you said, two off shin pads then one rolled off [Ryan Miller’s] stick there. We should have been able to come in, we’ve been a resilient team all season long, and we should have been able to come in the room like we did, talk it out and get ready to go in the second period, but again we didn’t come out ready and they get a couple more, two, three more.”
On losing to a team that is playing the second night of a back-to-back: “That’s a team we have been waiting for, this is a huge game, this is a game that coming into it we should have been all over them. We should have been loud, our intensity should have been up and, again, we let bounces get the best of us and from there it was quicksand, we got trapped in our zone, myself included right there on the point. We got stuck in quicksand there and it just kept getting worse and worse for us.”
On being eliminated from playoff contention: “It’s extremely disappointing. This is not what our team is about. Our team identity is about doing the right things and winning games. The past two seasons, it’s been a disappointment. We are a team that should be in the playoffs every season. We are a team that should be competing for the Cup every season. Again, another disappointment and I don’t even know what to say, just that I am sorry.”
Sabres forward Drew Stafford:
On being eliminated from playoff contention: “We still had a fighting chance and once again, it is easy to look back at games where maybe you could have gotten the points and stole some games. It’s unfortunate that we put ourselves in a situation tonight and for the way that the game went, there is not much else to say.”
On playing for pride and each other for the rest of the season: “That’s all we have. The character that is in this room, there is no quit; it’s just really frustrating right now. Obviously, the emotions of that game, it’s just tough to take. Once again, like I said earlier, it’s hard to put it on one game, we had so many opportunities earlier in the season to get points and we failed and we didn’t meet the expectations that we set for ourselves and it is just unfortunate. Now it is just about being professional and having some pride.”
Rangers forward Brad Richards:
On getting the two points they needed: “Well it was a weird game, in a good way, kind of. I’m just trying to stay with it and positive and sometimes the game treats you in weird ways.”
On how easy goals seem to be coming for the Rangers: “Yeah, it was a just a weird night with a lot of goals. With those two starting goalies, you wouldn’t expect the game to end 8-4, but it happens sometimes and we will take it.”
On entering the first intermission with a sudden 3-0 lead: “We were doing some good things, [despite playing in] back-to-back [games] we weren’t sitting back. We were getting some bounces and obviously it snowballed. It was definitely good to break it early on the road and get a lead. It is still not over and we have a long ways to go but back-to-back wins is keeping us feeling good, so its good.”
Rangers forward Carl Hagelin:
On what two quick goals do for a team’s confidence: “It gives us confidence, obviously, but we need to make sure not to get sloppy. It’s easy to get too focused on the offensive part when you score that many goals but we have a lot of humble guys in here that knows what it takes to win games and it comes down to playing well defensively. At any time we can get off to a good start and I think we played really well the first 10 minutes too, even though we didn’t get a goal. We kept playing hard and then the puck goes in, so that is what we have got to keep doing and get off to a good start.”
On whether the Rangers got sloppy after getting the 6-0 lead: “ I don’t know. There was maybe a little bit of sloppiness and some good shots from their guys too and maybe that happens if you’re up 6-0, but I think guys were working hard so I wouldn’t say we were too sloppy.”
On whether the back-to-back games provided the urgency that the Rangers needed: “Absolutely, you can see that these guys were working hard, were blocking shots, were doing the right thing and that’s why we had the puck more than we have [lately].”
Rangers forward Ryane Clowe:
On Brad Richards: “Well you know, Richie is a big part of this team. I had played against him a lot when he was in Dallas and when he’s on, he’s on. He’s a tremendous player. Tonight he gets a lot of pucks and shots and I thought that was a key for him. I almost went through the same thing this year, I didn’t have the starts we wanted but I got a lot of confidence through my game, which I’m sure Richie does, and when you get in that rut your confidence gets slow and you have to fight your way through it which he did because he has been really hot the past couple games.
On the end of the first period: “It was a crazy end and a crazy start to the second, so it was probably one of the weirdest games. You were shooting pucks towards the net and they were going in. It was wild; it was a wild one and I don’t even know if I have been a part of a game with that many goals before. It was a wild one, that’s for sure.
- The Sabres have won consecutive home games for the first time this season.
- Marcus Foligno scored two goals for the third time in his career. Foligno now has four points (2+2) in three career games against the Rangers.
- With two assists tonight, Andrej Sekera has four assists in his last three games. Sekera’s three-game point streak is his longest since he recorded two points in five consecutive games from Feb. 26 to March 6, 2011.
- Brian Flynn recorded his first career assist on Foligno’s second goal. Flynn now has points in three straight games (2+1).
- Jhonas Enroth earned his first win since Nov. 26, 2011 vs. WSH, after going 0-10-3 in his last 16 appearances.
- With his 267th career assist, Jason Pominville has passed Derek Roy for ninth-most assists in franchise history.
Sabres forward Brian Flynn:
On playing with Marcus Foligno: “Yeah, [Foligno] is big and strong, he wins a lot of the pucks down low, and creates more space from the boards, so he got to the net great tonight.”
On winning the game: “We played hard the whole game. I thought we got better throughout the game, which is a good time.”
On being patient with the puck: “I was maybe patient because I didn’t see anything open, so I just held on to it for an extra second; defense was able to get up to the line quickly and find that seam.”
Sabres forward Thomas Vanek:
On tonight’s game: “We stuck with it and in the end it was a big two points. Once we got in the zone and set up, I thought we generated some good chances. We just struggle on our breakouts; we have to find what works for this team and we have to find that sooner or later.”
On the difference in play: “Ron [Rolston] is a positive guy; I think the video shows the mistakes we made and the positive stuff, I think guys will stick with it. Tonight, I think we started better, which helped, and we worked for most of the game.”
On Enroth starting: “It was fun to see him play great in Jersey. Felt real bad for him we couldn’t get a win that night. Tonight he showed up again and it was awesome, it was good for us and good for him.”
Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
On scoring tonight: “One of those shifts I thought I was really good on the body, everyone was around the puck and we beat them to pucks and they were a little bit tired, I was able to get it in front of the net. Looked nicer than I thought it was and my stick just got caught between my legs and I put it in. Feels good to get that first goal. It’s just something you try and practice and wait for the right time in the game and I was able to do it in that moment.”
“My skate was in the way too, I thought the only way I would get in front of him was between my legs, and you have to be quick too. Lundqvist is a sharp goalie but in the play and that moment you have to beat him to it and I got to the post.”
“Huge sense of relief, first goal this season in front of the fans and it was overdue. I think the whole thing out of this game, it’s something I worked on last year that I felt I needed to be better, obviously I was doing a little something. I think this game the game I need to capture and make sure I move on to my next game.”
- Buffalo rallied from a two-goal deficit for the second time this season (1/31 at BOS). They overcame a third-period two-goal deficit for the first time since a 6-5 OT win on April 3, 2012 vs. BOS.
- With his first goal, Thomas Vanek became the sixth player in Sabres history to reach the 20-point mark in 10 or fewer games played.
- With a two-goal night, Vanek has now recorded five multi-point games in his first 10 games played. Dating back to last season, Vanek has 32 points (12+20) in his last 20 games.
- Tyler Ennis tied his career high with three points (6x, last: 3/23/12 at NYR). Ennis now has 101 career points (42+59) in 151 games.
Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
On the tying goal: “It’s just one of those things where you know you have time and you know you want to rush it, so I got a nice pass from the defense in the middle and had space, gave it to Pominville out wide and he dished it back to me and I was able to get a little step on the defense and you have to dish it deep. In those situations you have to go to the front of the net and hopefully get an opportunity. We had Ott and Vanek in there pushing away and it was similar to a goal last year against Toronto. Just stuff like that, you just got to hold onto it for that last second and just throw it in the crease and just get shots on net.”
On his role in tying the game with 2 seconds left: “We had a faceoff and I screwed up and threw back a little too fast and Pominville and our defense were able to get it back. It’s something you just have to get the puck on the net and make sure all five guys are driving to the net. Time was running out and it was a good desperation play.”
On having a mult-point night: “It’s always good to get points and just be able to get back in the game, especially with the power play. With the penalty kill, we just have to be a bit better on that. We just have to have a better mind 5-on-5 and it’s nice for me to get the points, but we have to keep working hard.”
Sabres forward Tyler Ennis:
On his goal: “I was trying to judge that backcheck, I tried to get as much of an angle as I could and I kind of had a similar goal last year, maybe two years ago against Atlanta or Winnipeg, where I had a partial breakaway and I shot short side and it worked on that.”
On the tying goal: “That is a huge goal by Vanek. He was rewarded, he had a lot of chances tonight and he’s staying hot. That goal symbolizes what we’ve been stressing in the last few days; just getting the pucks to the net and bodies there and working as hard as you can to get those second and third opportunities and it led to Vanek scoring on his knees there.”
On the lack of power play conversion in the second period: “Yeah, it’s frustrating. There was a little sense of relief when we scored on the power play there. We had some good looks before, but we can still clean it up on our entries and getting pucks back and I’m sure we will work on that a little bit tomorrow.”
Sabres forward Thomas Vanek:
On unconverted chances: “Through a portion I could have had two or three and thought to myself, maybe it’s just one of those nights, but just keep going, and in the end I got rewarded and the team got two points that we really needed.”
On the tying goal: “We talked about it, I don’t know what game it was but we had a 6-on-5 and it seemed like I was the only one up front and played the perimeter. So I think I talked the guys and we practiced it and said we need more pucks, more bodies and there were plenty of bodies in there and we found a way to get it in.”
On the atmosphere after the tying goal: “It was a feeling that we finally got a point that we needed so that was a good feeling. Again, I know the fans are frustrated — and so are we — but the louder our building is, the more fired up we are going to be and we need the people throughout the building, be as loud as you can be and it fires the team up. I think we showed them that there is no quit. We are struggling at times but tonight was a good two points but tomorrow’s a new day. “
Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec:
On losing after having the lead in the third period: “They scored two seconds before the end of the game, and we were up by two goals, so it’s frustrating.”
On the team struggling after a good start to the season: “I thought we played well. I thought we came out the first 10 games and we had some good games there, and that’s where we keep going, you know? Keep improving on the things that we need to improve and keep going forward, keep playing.”
On his concerns with the team over their last two games: “We had the lead and we were holding on to it until the end. We have to somehow find a way to win those tied games in the end and look to make plays.”
Canadiens forward Ryan White:
On surrendering the lead late and losing in a shootout: “That’s a tough one. Same situation again, obviously, and a good team. I don’t even know what to say about it.”
On his incident with Steve Ott in the third period: “Obviously it was just a selfish play. I thought he went kind of low on me and that’s what he does. He’s a good player at that, he’s smart at what he does out there and, you know, I just kind of reacted the wrong way again obviously and cost my team another two points.”
On whether other teams are purposely trying to get him to take penalties late in games: “Sure. I’d be doing it too. Obviously, I took another bad one tonight and, like I said, I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s a tough one.”
Canadiens forward Rene Bourque:
On giving up the lead after having the Sabres down two goals: “Yeah, you know that’s two games in a row where we give up a lead. Early in the third period when Plekanec gets that goal right off the bat, but we got in penalty trouble and were kind of hanging on. We had a few chances to put it away and we didn’t, and they got that big goal at the end.”
On how exhausting the beginning of the second period was: “We got in a rut there where we kept getting called on and its tough on our killers, you know? Those are hard minutes those penalty killers play, a lot of stopping and starting. Even on Budaj there, so we have to be more disciplined. That’s a few games in a row we got in trouble like that.”