By Jay Skurski & Tim Schmitt
BUFFALO — Paul Gaustad was named the Sabres nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, the Buffalo-area chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association announced today.
Gaustad was a seventh-round pick in 2000, and none of the team’s draft choices from the previous six rounds ever played a game in the National Hockey League. He has since played more than 200 games with the team, had entered Monday night’s game with 73 career points.
The award is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication, and is chosen by the PHWA’s members.
Only two Sabres have ever won the award — Don Luce in 1975 and Pat LaFontaine in 1995.
Jason Pominville continued to make coach Lindy Ruff look good with his first-period goal.
Ruff’s choice as team captain for March, Pominville’s goal just 16 seconds into the game gave him at least a point in 11 of the past 12 games. He had his 10-game point streak stopped in Saturday’s overtime loss.
Pominville, who added an assist in the second period, has points in 19 of his last 22 games. He leads the Sabres with 65 points on 23 goals and 42 assists.
He also scored in the shootout.
Defenseman Jaro Spacek left Monday’s game after the first period and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.
“I can give you an update on Jaro (today) after further tests, but his looks a little longer than shorter,” Ruff said in referencing how long Spacek could be out.
Spacek was on the ice for 5 minutes, 11 seconds in five shifts before getting hurt.
The Sabres were also forced to play without Dmitri Kalinin in the third period. Kalinin, who led the team with 9:10 of ice time in the first period, will also be out for an extended period of time, according to the coach.
“Either guy, it could be weeks,” Ruff said. “But it wouldn’t be fair to say that right now.”
Score this one for Colton Orr. The Rangers forward and Buffalo’s Andrew Peters dropped the gloves in the first period and each exchanged some solid shots.
Orr, though, got the best of Peters toward the end of the bout, landing a couple hooks before sending Peters to the ice.
The boos seemed to intensify for former Sabres co-captain Chris Drury in his second trip back to Buffalo with the Rangers.
Drury was cheered at one point, however, when he took a tripping penalty in the first period.
Drury is tied for the team lead with 22 goals for the Rangers.