BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres have refused to use injuries as an excuse this season and they're not about to start now -- even after losing yet another defenseman.
Henrik Tallinder is the latest blue liner to go down, out for the remainder of the playoffs with a broken left arm suffered late in Buffalo's 4-3 win over Carolina in the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday. The Sabres lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 tonight.
``Bad bounces, bad breaks, it's just something we've got to deal with and keep going," defenseman Brian Campbell said after practice yesterday. ``We've got too much courage, too many guys that want to win hockey games, that we're just not going to roll over and quit."
The Sabres haven't shown any quit so far in making an eye-opening run in their first playoff appearance since 2001.
They outscored and outhit Philadelphia in the first round and outskated top-seeded Ottawa in the second. The Sabres are now showing their resilience.
Tallinder's injury is the latest in a long string that has left the Sabres' defensive corps depleted. Besides Tallinder, their best defenseman this postseason, the Sabres are also without Teppo Numminen (groin), who's day to day, and Dmitri Kalinin, who's out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
``I think it kind of sums up our year," coach Lindy Ruff said. ``When we've been slapped with adversity, we have rose to the occasion."
If the Sabres won't blame injuries, the Hurricanes blame only themselves for being down in a series in which no team has won two straight and all three games have been decided by a goal.
After beating Buffalo, 4-3, in Game 2 Monday, the Hurricanes had a big setback Wednesday.
Carolina lacked discipline, allowing Buffalo to capitalize on 2 of 7 power-play chances, while Ales Kotalik's eventual winner came on a delayed penalty. The Hurricanes were outhit, 24-11, outshot, 33-27, and found themselves running around in their own zone.
``They seemed to have a step on us," said Carolina defenseman Bret Hedican. ``Our team speed was not evident and that's something we've got to get back [tonight]."
Things got so bad that rookie goaltender Cam Ward was pulled after allowing four goals on 26 shots through 33 minutes. The move was not indicative of Ward's play, but coach Peter Laviolette's attempt to spark his team.
The Hurricanes responded, scoring twice while backup Martin Gerber stopped all seven shots he faced, raising questions of who will start in Game 4.
Laviolette isn't saying, but Ward would like to get a chance to bounce back.
``We learned from the experience, we know what we're capable of doing," Ward said. ``But it's just a matter of going out there and doing it. It's one thing to talk in the dressing room, it's another to execute on the ice."