PHILADELPHIA -- There has been great between-games theater between the Sabres and Flyers with Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff dismissing Philadelphia's complaints about dirty play as "whining."
In his press briefing in Buffalo on Thursday, he mentioned the term "whine" or "whining" at least six times.
"We thought it was funny," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said Friday. "One of the coaches did a little spoof on it today in the coaches' office and he took out the word 'whining' and put in 'winning.' It was pretty funny. But we don't get involved in too much of that crap, but it was funny. We had a good time with it."
Philadelphia center Danny Briere used to play for Ruff in Buffalo and wasn't surprised at the outburst.
"I've heard the other side of him when I was in Buffalo, too, at times complaining that we weren't getting the calls," Briere said. "I've seen both sides of him on those calls, I guess. It doesn't surprise me at all."
Ruff said Friday he thought the Flyers' complaints might serve as an additional motivator for the Sabres as opposed to his whining comments motivating the Flyers.
"I think we got a lot of motivation from their comments, is what I think," Ruff said. "That we got away from murder -- we got a lot of motivation out of that. That really fired us up. That's what I think. That's what I really think."
It can't be just Ryan Miller
Both of the Sabres' wins have come by a 1-0 count -- the series is tied at 2 -- which illustrates the importance of netminder Ryan Miller. But it also highlights the need for players to step forward and contribute offensively.
The team's top two centers, Brad Boyes and Tim Connolly, are without goals in the series, although Connolly has two assists. Boyes, who moved to center after he was acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline, has zero points.
"Yeah, it's been a while since I've been in the middle. Adjusting to it a little bit," Boyes said. "I felt fairly good down there. Definitely different responsibilities and stuff, but that offense has still got to be there. You still got to produce. You go through ups and downs; this isn't a good time to be in a funk."
The former Toronto prospect said he wasn't sure whether the switch in position or the move itself was contributing to his offensive funk.
"There's lots of things that I think about and go through my head to try to find answers. I don't know if there's one specific one," said Boyes, who scored 43 goals in 2007-08 for the Blues. "Honestly, I try not to worry about it. Sometimes thinking too much isn't the greatest thing and I just need to keep a clear head and really just get back to basics -- putting pucks on net."
Ruff wasn't buying the switch of positions or the trade as an explanation.
"I don't run around looking for excuses for a lack of production," Ruff said. "There's opportunities that have presented themselves that he hasn't taken advantage of. Once you're in the offensive zone, you're not a winger and you're not a center man, you're a player."
As for Connolly, who has one goal in his past nine games, Ruff said the forward needs to shoot the puck more.
"I thought that he passed up some good opportunities. He's trying to make it too difficult," Ruff said. "He's defended well. He's killed penalties great for us. He has a playmaking mentality that I think sometimes hurts him."
Ruff was asked if he needs to simply say "shoot the puck."
"I think I used that exact phrase last night when I talked to him," the coach said.