Share this article

print logo

Finally, a breakthrough while short-handed

After more than two months, the green light finally turned into a red light.

The Buffalo Sabres are free to take a chance while short-handed any time they please. That was best illustrated in last season's playoffs when Jason Pominville knocked Ottawa from contention with a shorty in overtime.

But the Sabres had gone 29 games without a short-handed goal until Pominville got one Tuesday against Boston. It was their fifth of the season, and Pominville's second. Chris Drury also has two, while Dmitri Kalinin has one. The Sabres' previous game with a short-handed goal was against Toronto on Nov. 22, when they scored two.

"It's not why we're out there," Pominville said after Wednesday's practice in HSBC Arena. "We're out there to prevent goals. If we do get the opportunity, we kind of have the green light to be able to jump in the play and go."

The Sabres are in the middle of the NHL in short-handed goals, tied for 15th, well back of the leaders. Montreal has 13, Calgary 11 and the Senators have 10.

"Ottawa has guys with a lot of speed, and they seem to take some chances sometimes," Sabres penalty-killing center Derek Roy said. "I don't think it's our style at all. The guys that are on the penalty kill try to do the job, and you're not thinking about offense. But once you're on it, then you can go.

"Basically, we want to get the job done. If we can score, so be it. I'd rather play some sound defense and not allow goals than trade chances with other teams five-on-four."


Since Tim Connolly is succeeding on the ice, the Sabres will see if he can handle the air.

Connolly, who skated on his own again Wednesday, will join the Sabres during their three-game road trip, which starts tonight in Boston's TD Banknorth Garden. The Sabres fly to New Jersey after the game to meet the Devils on Saturday, then go directly to Atlanta for Tuesday's match against the Thrashers.

"He's going to join us either Friday night or Saturday morning," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Everything is moving forward. He's encouraged, he's happy."

Connolly didn't take Wednesday's flight because he has an appointment with doctors either today or Friday.

The air travel will be another test for the center, trying to come back from a concussion suffered in May. After his first concussion back in 2002 -- which doctors said is unrelated to this one, according to Connolly -- the center flew with the team to the West Coast. But he experienced headaches on at least two of the flights, setting his recovery back.


When Daniel Briere hit the 20-goal mark Tuesday, he put this edition of the Sabres next to the 1974-75 Stanley Cup finalists.

The Sabres have five players with at least 20 goals, only the second time in franchise history that was accomplished before Feb. 1. Drury (27 goals), Thomas Vanek (25), Pominville (22), Maxim Afinogenov (21) and Briere (21) joined 1974-75 standouts Rene Robert (29), Gilbert Perreault (27), Rick Martin (25), Don Luce (24) and Rick Dudley (21).


Center Jiri Novotny missed Wednesday's practice because of his ankle injury and will not play tonight.


There are no comments - be the first to comment