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Sabres nearing goal by focusing on D (started copying the Blues after losing to them)

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03-23-2012, 12:24 PM
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joshjull
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Sabres nearing goal by focusing on D (started copying the Blues after losing to them)

http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/sa...icle776296.ece


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The Sabres returned from St. Louis on Jan. 22 as dispirited as they'd been all year. They'd just lost their 12th straight road game, a 4-2 setback against the Blues. St. Louis was charging toward the top of the NHL at the time with a game that featured a hard-working, defense-first mentality.

During a lengthy meeting, the Sabres decided they had to channel the spirit of St. Louis.

"I remember [coach] Lindy [Ruff] being pretty upset," captain Jason Pominville said Thursday. "It was one of those where he walked away and let us figure it out on our own. Just a lot of different players talked and said different things that in the end were beneficial for us in a lot of ways. I think it was realizing how important it is to play defense first.

"We said we might have to win a game 1-0 or 2-1, and we ended up winning a [2-1] game in a shootout in Jersey and were able to keep it going from then on."

The Sabres have gone 16-5-5 since leaving St. Louis. They'll carry an 11-2-4 run into tonight's game against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden.

Quote:
The statistical improvement has been just as dramatic for goaltender Ryan Miller. He was feeling the blues with an 11-15-2 record, 3.15 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. Since then, he has gone 16-3-5 with a 1.90 and .937.

"My focus came back, and I was able to settle in as the guys started to improve their defensive play and their awareness," Miller said. "We've limited rush chances. We're doing a good job on the penalty kill and also not taking as many penalties. Just little things add up to fewer goals against, and the goalie in this case reflects his team. The guys are playing better hockey overall, and it helps me."


Last edited by joshjull: 03-23-2012 at 10:08 PM.
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03-23-2012, 01:20 PM
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Play4Miracles*
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You know, Miller was humble and flattering towards his teammates. Just want that on the record.

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03-23-2012, 06:59 PM
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joshjull
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My focus is on the fact that after losing to the Blues and their defense first disciplined style. There was players meeting to hash things out and many players let their thoughts be known. As a group they decided to emulate the Blues defense first approach.


I found it interesting that the players appear to have had a big hand in this change and focus on defense first.


Last edited by joshjull: 03-23-2012 at 09:21 PM.
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