The longest-tenured head coach in the NHL is feeling the heat.
“We need to win games,” Lindy Ruff said Wednesday, the day after his Sabres lost 4-3 in Ottawa.
“We need to win them now.”
He’s right. Buffalo has dropped seven of its last eight games since winning the first two of the season. The Sabres’ 3-6-1 record is better than only one (Washington, 2-7-1) in the Eastern Conference.
Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson can’t do everything.
Among the struggling Sabres…
Defenseman Tyler Myers is a minus-7 with just one assist, his average ice time having fallen to 20:03 from the 22:29 he logged last season. The 2010 rookie of the year may be in the first year of a seven-year, $38.5 million contract, but his play hasn’t been close to the level that garnered him that deal.
Goalie Ryan Miller has surrendered four goals in each of his last four games.
Former 30-goal scorer Drew Stafford hasn’t scored yet.
As for Ruff, he’s been Buffalo’s coach since 1997; however, if he can’t get his team into the playoffs, it’s hard to picture him back next season.
The Sabres host Montreal Thursday.
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.
Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.
Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.
During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.
It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.
As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.
Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.