In just his second season in the NHL, Dave Snuggerud has established himself as one of the most accomplished penalty killers and defensive forwards in the game, but goal scoring is another matter.
Still, it's not for a lack of trying, something Snuggerud was quick to point out after he scored a short-handed goal in Buffalo's 4-3 victory over the Flyers Thursday in the Spectrum.
"I think the wind helped me by blowing it into the net," Snuggerud said of his second goal of the season. "I had help though. I've had 23 guys giving me advice, along with three coaches, two goalies and a partridge in a pear tree. With that kind of help, it's bound to go in some time."
Kidding aside, Snuggerud did more than just give himself an early Christmas present. He made a strong play to get the goal, getting on Philadelphia's Murray Craven after Craven momentarily lost the puck just inside his own blue line. Craven got it back in time to make a pass, but Snuggerud anticipated it, blocked it with his skate and went in to chip the puck over Pete Peeters.
Clint Malarchuk got the photo journalism award for best video when he left the game in the third period. Cameras captured the goaltender smashing his stick against the stands and then against a wall before tossing the pieces and heading up the ramp to the dressing room. Had he hit Dale Kushner with any of the force he inflicted on the stands, he might well have been suspended for life.
It was a good night for the Dale Hawerchuk, Mike Foligno and Rick Vaive line. Foligno had a goal, Vaive had a goal and an assist and Hawerchuk two assists. The line also accounted for six shots (Vaive had five of them) and each player was a plus-2. Hawerchuk had been struggling with his plus-minus much of the season, but in the last four games he's brought it down from a season-high minus-11 to a minus-7. Vaive's goal was his first since October 31, but he missed seven games after that one with neck and shoulder injuries.
The Sabres were without regulars Daren Puppa (back), Pierre Turgeon (knee) and Mike Ramsey (rib). They made one significant roster change, replacing defenseman Greg Brown with Brad Miller. It was the first time Brown was scratched this season. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Miller does not have Brown's mobility, but was expected to be more of a physical force vs. the large Flyers. The Sabres also scratched John Tucker.