Steve Ott (9) drives his shoulder into the New York Rangers’ Anton Stralman on Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ott wants cheers from Sabres fans, not boos

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ power play is awful, and their legions of fans know it. Not only does it rank 30th, it’s operating at a paltry 11.2 percent. Only three teams have converted less than 14 percent of their chances.

In Tuesday’s 3-1 triumph over the New York Rangers, the Sabres blew all five opportunities and allowed another short-handed goal, their NHL-high fifth this season.

During one third-period chance, they iced the puck and went offside in the first 61 seconds, drawing the ire of the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

To Sabres winger Steve Ott, the booing was the only mark on a strong win, the Sabres’ 10th this season.

“Only thing you could ask for maybe is to get a little bit of (the) fans’ support when you’re winning 2-1 and they’re booing you,” Ott said Tuesday. “You tend to make the team lose a little bit of energy, and in those certain instances you wish you’d get some energy from your fans.

“But other than that, I thought the team in here stayed composed. We played extremely well. I think from the goalie out we defended well tonight, and I thought it was the difference.”

The power play – something interim coach Ron Rolston called a “work in progress” – could’ve been the difference in the four consecutive one-goal losses the Sabres brought into Tuesday.

“That’s been the story of this last stretch, where we’ve been in how many one-goal games?” Rolston asked. “We need that to be the difference right now in hockey games. You get even two tonight, you’re not going into the third at 2-1.”

Check back later for a full story.

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