Terry Pegula

Sabres owner criticizes goaltending (or lack thereof)

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Saturday night’s 8-3 loss to Pittsburgh was a tough one for Buffalo netminders Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth. Miller allowed three goals on the first seven shots he faced (including a 60-foot slapper from Jason Williams) before being replaced by Enroth, who promptly allowed a soft Evgeni Malkin backhand to get past him. Miller then returned for the start of the second period — only to be yanked again — before Enroth returned for the final frame.

That brutal performance drew the ire of Buffalo owner Terry Pegula.

“We saw some great goaltending tonight, didn’t we?” Pegula said outside the dressing room. “If they think they played well, we’ve got more problems.”

After spending huge in the offseason — Pegula committed nearly $140 million in player salaries this summer — you can’t blame the owner for being pissed. Sure, the Sabres are still in a playoff position, but they’re also 8-9-3 at home this season, have suffered a rash of injuries and had their team toughness called into question after the Miller-Milan Lucic incident.

Speaking of Miller, he wasn’t pleased with his performance either.

“It’s a little disheartening for the guys,” Miller said. “They weren’t very good goals. I’d like to be better for them.

“We’ve got to find a way to get the right energy. From my side I didn’t provide any. Actually, I probably took some away from the guys not making the right reads or the right plays.”

Miller’s fall from grace this season is stunning. Normally atop most statistical goaltending categories, his goals-against average of 3.12 ranks 37th in the league while his save percentage of .902 is 32nd. Enroth, meanwhile, has cooled off considerably since his outstanding start to the year. He’s lost eight of the last 10 games he’s appeared in and his save percentage over the last three is a meager .873.

If the goalies are expecting words of encouragement, they’d better not look to head coach Lindy Ruff. His assessment of both guys’ performances from Saturday night was pretty blunt.

“There’s no secret. It was a tough night for Ryan, starting with the first goal,” Ruff said. “I didn’t like Jhonas, the goal he lets in, obviously. Every shot starts going in it’s tough on the team.”

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.