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Sabres shooters go unrewarded Goalless streaks mounting

You watched winger Jason Pominville buzz the net Saturday and you saw a microcosm of the Buffalo Sabres' week.
Pominville did just about all he could in the 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins and got no rewards. Same as his team. Pominville had a team-high 10 shots on goal and the Sabres had 46 but couldn't solve Boston goalie Tim Thomas.

The Sabres have scored just four goals in the last four games and have stunningly slipped into a tie with Washington and Edmonton for last place in the NHL's overall standing. The offensive slump is the main culprit.
"It's in your head for a little bit but I'd be more worried if we didn't have those opportunities at all," Pominville said after Saturday's game. "Lately we've been getting them. That's a good sign we've been doing good things. Eventually they'll go in and they'll start going in big."

Pominville, a 34-goal scorer last year, has just five this season. He has none in his last eight games but he's far from the only drought-stricken Sabre.
The latest update on the goalless is led by Derek Roy, who has no goals in his last nine games.
Other 0-fers among the forwards include Drew Stafford (seven games), Maxim Afinogenov and Paul Gaustad (five games), Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht (four games). Ales Kotalik has scored once in his last seven games and Daniel Paille's short-handed tally Saturday ended his streak of six straight games with no goals.
The Sabres seemed to focus on longer breakout passes and a constant peppering of the net to get the offense going Saturday. They've had 79 shots on goal in the last two games but only one goal.
"I know I've been trying to shoot more," Pominville said. "I've been having a lot of scoring chances. It just hasn't gone my way lately. Eventually it will go in and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later."
What the Sabres probably need is one lucky bounce, one opponent deflecting a shot into his own net. Anything. Boston's winning goal Saturday was the kind Buffalo isn't getting at all as Chuck Kobasew knocked a back-hander out of midair past Ryan Miller with 8:15 left.
"It hit Dan Paille, it hit Toni Lydman in the hip and [Kobasew] swung at it behind his back with the stick and somehow it goes in," said coach Lindy Ruff said, shaking his head. "Can't defend it. It's lucky. They got lucky and we didn't. We didn't get one of those at all."
The Sabres were off Sunday and return to practice today to begin work for Thursday's game at Ottawa. Ruff said he's going to tell his team to press forward and keep shooting.
"We were an effective team [Saturday]," Ruff said. "That's our style and we'll get rewarded. We've got to bite the bullet and be disappointed in not winning but it will go in for us."

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Thursday's game in Scotiabank Place is the first of eight meetings with the first-place Senators. It will be the teams' first matchup since the Sens' five-game triumph over Buffalo in last year's Eastern Conference finals. The next home game is Friday versus Montreal.

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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