Sabres aim to rebound

The Sabres' Chris Drury answers questions yesterday ahead of Game 4 tonight in Ottawa. (Sun...

The Sabres' Chris Drury answers questions yesterday ahead of Game 4 tonight in Ottawa. (Sun Media/Errol McGihon)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

Surely a good New England kid such as Chris Drury, surely a fan of the Boston Red Sox like everyone from that part of the USA, would know there is a way out of an 0-3 hole, right?

It's a story Sox fans will be telling their grandkids forever, how the Red Sox were down 3-0 to the hated New York Yankees in 2004, down by a run in the ninth in the fourth game and found a way to win the game and, incredibly, that series.

Then the World Series.

Great inspiration for Drury, a native of Trumbull, Conn., and the rest of his Buffalo Sabres teammates, who face that same 0-3 hole against the Senators tonight

"I'm a Yankees fan, actually, so that wasn't a good series," Drury said.

Oh, sorry about that.

But he got the point.

Did Drury remember what turned that Sox-Yankees series around?

"I do remember what turned it around. One play. I think it was (Boston pinch-runner) Dave Roberts stole second. A base hit later, they tied the game and got the ball going in the right direction. That's what we have to hang our hat on," Drury said.

"I think the way we're looking at it, there's two choices: Curl up and cry about it and go home or we can fight like dogs and hopefully we show up and fight like crazy."

The Sabres faced all kinds of questions about how they, the President's Trophy winners and the best team in the NHL for most of the season, could find themselves in such dire straits.

Drury pondered that and said the explanation at least halfway lies -- correctly, we will add -- with how the Senators have played.

"It's a lot of good things they've done," he said. "We've talked all series how good they are at blocking shots, how aggressive they are on the forecheck, even on the backcheck. I don't think we've had many odd-man rushes and even the ones we've had, it seems they've quickly turned into even rushes. Give them a lot of credit.

"There's a lot of clips we've seen and a lot of areas we've seen where they're doing a great job. There's not one guy over there that doesn't constantly move his feet. I have said all year that's when we're at our best. A lot of times in this series it seems like we're too stale and too stagnant."

The shot blocking is a good point.

The Senators have blocked 52 shots through the first three games to the Sabres' 45.

Just for the sake of comparison, the Senators had blocked just 29 shots through the first three games of their second-round series against the Sabres last spring on their way to losing in five games.

"When we are around the net, they've done an unbelievable job blocking shots," Drury said.

"They didn't walk through Jersey and they didn't walk through Pittsburgh by accident," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "They left those teams looking for answers, too."

Ruff, who had been so tight at his morning meeting with the media before Game 3, had loosened up yesterday.

He pointed out to his team "something great" happens every 33 years in the NHL, noting the 1942 Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders both climbed out of 0-3 holes, the only NHL teams to do it.

"We're at about that 33-year range where something great is bound to happen. So we've told them we're on the verge of greatness," he said, drawing a laugh.

"It has been frustrating, I don't think any guy in here would argue that," Drury said, "but gripping the stick tighter or slamming doors or yelling at the refs or yelling at each other is not going to help us win. Everyone hopefully takes a deep breath and gets refocused. We're certainly not going to quit and we're not going to back down."


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