With the Buffalo Sabres off to the worst start in franchise history, some are questioning the job security of coach Ron Rolston.
Considering Wednesday night's matchup against the stingy Boston Bruins poses a significant challenge for the offensively-inept Sabres, there's a good chance the speculation will continue.
Buffalo (1-8-1), still seeking its first home victory, clings to a shootout result over the New York Islanders on Oct. 15 as its only win.
Rolston had his interim tag removed in May after taking over for the fired Lindy Ruff in February. Buffalo is 16-19-6 under Rolston dating to Feb. 21, with seven of those victories coming in shootouts.
He has mostly deflected any talk regarding his job.
"I'm always up. You have to be positive," said Rolston, who previously served as the head coach of USA Hockey's National Team development program. "That's our job, to be positive around here and work hard every day. That's what we can control. The results will take care of themselves if you do those two things."
Saturday's 4-2 loss to Colorado was only the third multi-goal game this season for the Sabres, whose 1.2 goals per game is the league's lowest average. They were scoreless on three power-play chances, falling to 3 for 35 (8.6 percent) on the season.
The defeat also saw Buffalo's opening-period struggles continue, as Rolston's squad was outshot 14-3 in the first 20 minutes. The Sabres are being outscored 13-1 in the first compared to 14-11 in the second and third.
"I don't think we've consistently done enough things to create the identity that we want," Rolston said. "Second and thirds, for example, when we have slow starts we seem to pick it up at the end and we start to do some of the things we're supposed to do consistently."
Buffalo's struggles appear likely to continue against a Bruins (5-2-0) team that allows 1.4 goals per game. Boston has also won all three of its road contests by a total score of 11-3 after a 5-0 victory at Tampa Bay on Saturday.
David Krejci - who tied for fourth on the team in 2012-13 with 10 goals - tallied his first of this season to extend his points streak to four games. Twelve different Bruins each recorded one point against the Lightning.
"Everybody showed up from the drop of the puck tonight, and obviously it shows on the result," said Patrice Bergeron, who scored his second of the season.
Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots for his first shutout, but he struggled the last time he faced Buffalo. He surrendered a career-high six goals in a 7-4 home loss on Jan. 31.
Thomas Vanek, who has 18 points over his last 12 games against the Bruins, accounted for three goals and two assists.
Ryan Miller is 5-2 in his last seven starts versus Boston with a 1.83 goals-against average.
Jarome Iginla, who has yet to tally a goal with the Bruins despite 24 shots in seven games, has scored in three of his last four against Buffalo.
These teams have split 28 meetings since Nov. 8, 2008.
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