Sabres Struggle behind the Blue Line

Andrew GierContributor IOctober 30, 2008

The Buffalo Sabres, who saw themselves race to a 6-0-2 start, are on a two-game slide after suffering back-to-back home losses.

In consecutive games against division opponents the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sabres found themselves on the losing end. They've been outscored 10-4 in back to back games, and in the last six games were 2-2-2 allowing 21 goals for an average of 3.5 per game.

This comes while playing without long-time defenseman Henrik Tallinder (foot laceration), physical forward Paul Gaustad (thumb), and team captain Craig Rivet (knee surgery). Also out are oft-injured center Tim Connoly (back) and former captain Jochen Hect (finger).

Both Tallinder and Gaustad made a return to the roster tonight, with limited success. Neither player had a point and both posted negative plus/minus marks in a losing effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Sabres are going to have to stiffen up at the blue line and get solid goaltending efforts if they're going to turn this around, and weather this storm of injuries. "There wasn't a lot to like about that game," Lindy Ruff said when asked about their most recent 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay. "We're not firing on all cylinders."