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Sabres Drop Second Straight, Fall to Hawks 4-1



Buffalo took a 1-0 lead early but did little afterward as they lost their second straight, falling 4-1 to Chicago.

Patrick Lalime filled in for Ryan Miller who wasn’t hurt. Coach Lindy Ruff thought it would be a good time to give his back up some work, figuring that Lalime would gear up to face his former team. He spent the last two seasons with the Blackhawks, going 20-18-3, before Buffalo picked him up as a free agent last spring.

“I looked at the schedule and Chicago is added incentive for him. He used to play there so it’s a good place to drop him in,” coach Lindy Ruff told the Buffalo News after practice Tuesday.

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Now, Lindy might want to retract that statement. Lalime was shaky at best, stopping just 21 shots and allowing 4 goals. He made poor decisions and allowed a bad goal he should have easily gloved but let slip by him to break a tie game open. Although, in his defense, he got little help. Buffalo’s defense was pretty unstable and the offense was downright pitiful failing to convert on 7 power play opportunities.

Ales Kotalik scored the lone goal for the Sabres, assisted by Adam Mair and Teppo Numminen, to give them the lead halfway through the opening period.

Chicago responded as Patrick Sharp scored his 21st of the season on a rebound off Ben Eager’s shot. Jonathon Towes gave them the lead a few minutes later when he snuck a wrister past goal tender Patrick Lalime. The puck appeared to be gloved by Lalime but before the Sabres could prepare for a face off the puck was in the net.

Martin Havlat beat Lalime high on a three on one break to score the only goal of the second. A second period dominated by penalties – five of which went to the Blackhawks. After being called for too many men on the ice, the Hawks were penalized for Ben Eager’s retaliation on a hit by Drew Stafford. Eager was given two minutes for cross-checking and a double minor for roughing.

But the Sabres, who have been decent on the power play at 20.4%, failed to convert on any and got hardly any scoring chances.

Chicago managed to kill eight straight minutes of the Buffalo power play, allowing only one shot on goal and nearly scored short handed after Lalime came out of the goal to play the puck.

James Wisniewski scored just 17 seconds into the third to make it 4-1.

Buffalo did manage to kill off four power plays in the third but couldn’t score any goals and chip into the deficit. They get a tough turn around, traveling to Dallas to take on the Stars tomorrow night.


Erich Straub
ProHockey-fans.com Buffalo Sabres Correspondent

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