There are no seagulls in the Spectrum.
But you couldn't convince Sabres defenseman Dean Kennedy of that.
"I thought I got hit by a seagull," Kennedy said after he was the unfortunate victim of some well directed expectorant from the lips of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kjell Samuelsson.
"I thought I was going to get whiplash."
Samuelsson employed the disgusting tactic from the bench early in the first period after he and Kennedy bumped. He was promptly given a gross misconduct penalty.
Never was an NHL penalty so appropriately named, but it did serve the Sabres well. Samuelsson, arguably the Flyers' best defenseman now that Mark Howe is out of the lineup, was lost to the team from the 6:33 mark on. A gross misconduct calls for immediate expulsion and carries a $100 fine.
Kennedy wouldn't say exactly what was said immediately after the bumping incident, but did acknowledge the two had words.
Samuelsson, however, wouldn't even admit to his act.
"If he said I did it then he said so," he said.
The Sabres are 11-11-4 on the road. They have not been above .500 on the road since the first few weeks of the season.
"We want to keep the road thing going," said Benoit Hogue, Buffalo's first goal scorer Tuesday. "We haven't been getting the wins at home lately (four straight home losses), but we've been winning on the road and if we can keep picking up points there, we can hang in until we get it going again at home."
The win was important for the Sabres in that regard. Had they lost the game, they would have fallen five points behind the Boston Bruins, a winner Tuesday at Quebec.
Daren Puppa was named the game's first star and made several game-saving saves, especially one late in the third period when he came some 15 feet out of his net.
"I think the defenseman (Gord Murphy) thought I was going to go down or give him some space between my legs and I didn't want to do either," Puppa said.
"I just stood there and it hit me."
Puppa had been susceptible to shots between his pads in recent weeks and said he had been working on the problem.
"Basically it's just me trying to do too much," he said.
Alexander Mogilny did not accompany the team here Monday and is said to have the flu.
This is the second time Mogilny has missed a game in the Spectrum this season. He got hit on the ankle in a pregame warmup vs. the New York Islanders Dec. 5 at Long Island and missed the game here two nights later.
Mike Foligno returned to the lineup after missing the last four games because of flu. Prior to that absence, Foligno had gone 5-4 -- 9 in 10 games. He is fifth on the team in scoring and third in the plus-minus ratings (plus-9, second only to Pierre Turgeon, plus-10, among forwards).
Foligno nearly put the game away early in the third period, but his shot hit the intersection of the post and the crossbar.
In addition to Mogilny, the Sabres scratched center Jeff Parker and defenseman Larry Playfair.
The Flyers returned Tim Kerr to the lineup, but were without injured defenseman Howe. Flyer scratches were Kerry Huffman, Doug Sulliman, Tony Horacek, Derrick Smith, Keith Acton and former Sabre Norm Lacombe.
The Sabres recalled defenseman Dale DeGray from Rochester in the AHL. DeGray did not arrive in time for the morning skate, but did arrive in time for the game. He did did not dress.
Defenseman Don McSween was returned to Rochester. McSween played four games for the Sabres (the three Western games and Friday's 6-3 loss to Washington). He had no points and was a minus-3.
DeGray had been up with the Sabres before, but did not pick up a point and is minus-2.