If the Sabres want to score, they have to start staying around the net

Jason Pominville has made a living being five feet from the cage

Paul Hamilton
February 18, 2019 - 5:22 pm

Photo: Marc DesRosiers - USA TODAY Sports

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Sunrise, FL (WGR 550) - In the games where the Sabres storm the net, they score goals. In the games they don’t, they wind up with close to nothing.

New Jersey was a great example of that. They got over 30 shots, but no traffic in front of Cory Schneider. Phil Housley said it’s the way they do it that’s the problem, “To me it’s just we’re getting there, but our timing when the puck’s delivered, we’re not staying right over on top of the goal.

“We’ve got to continue to focus on that because we’ve got to make it difficult where we have a guy there and just keep fighting for that space and then from there, we’ve just got to get a little dirty in front of the net, maybe those second and third opportunities and fighting for those things, but we’re there and then we sort of leave when the shots arrive, so we don’t have an opportunity.”

Jason Pominville is a smaller player, but he’s made a career of hanging around the net. He has 290 career goals and quite a few came from five feet away or less. Pominville said it’s frustrating that the message isn’t getting through to everybody, “I think it is for sure. A lot of guys in the past are guys that are half-wall guys, so it’s realizing that it’s a hard league to score in and you have to get there.”

Pominville said once you get there, you have to be tenacious, “It is trying to get that second and third opportunity, those ugly goals around the paint, I mean that’s where most goals are scored within five feet, so you’ve got to get there, you’ve got to pay a price to get there and stay there and usually if you do, you get rewarded for it.”  

Games that will affect the Sabres on Monday feature, Tampa Bay at Columbus, Washington at Los Angeles and Boston at San Jose.

Not practicing on Monday were Kyle Okposo, Zach Bogosian and Rasmus Ristolainen. Okposo has been sent back to Buffalo for further evaluation. Marco Scandella’s injury is now week-to-week.

 

Monday’s lines:

Skinner - Eichel - Pominville

Sheary - Mittelstadt - Reinhart

Smith - Rodrigues - Thompson

Sobotka - Larsson - Girgensons

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