BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Eric Comrie walked into the dressing room Thursday after allowing 10 goals and immediately took ownership for the ugly loss.
Of course, Comrie, who’s week to week after suffering a lower-body injury in Friday’s practice, made 39 saves during an awful effort against the Dallas Stars. He was hardly the problem.
“He came in after that game and the first thing he did was try to apologize to his teammates,” Sabres coach Don Granato said following Sunday’s practice at KeyBank Center. “The room completely responded the other way. Obviously, it was not his doing. He had many great saves in the game. We just didn’t support him. That was a tough one.”
The 6-foot-1, 183-pound Comrie has endured a tough season, getting injured twice and losing his starting job. After suffering a lower-body injury Nov. 16, rookie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, 24, emerged as the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie during his seven-week absence.
“There’s a lot of stuff, unfortunately, that has impacted him in challenging ways that have been out of his control,” Granato said. “The game, a couple of injuries. He hasn’t had injuries in his career really until this season.”
Following his return, the Sabres kept three goalies – veteran Craig Anderson, 41, has been the backup all season – and worked to find playing time for each one.
Comrie, who signed a two-year, $3.6 million contract last year, has recently been the third netminder, earning sporadic action. He had played four of the previous 24 games before Thursday’s contest, winning each start.
Granato expects he will play again this season.
Overall, Comrie has compiled an 8-9-0 record with a 3.95 goals-against average and an .877 save percentage in 17 games this season.
Granato believes he will use his latest injury as an opportunity to return stronger.
“Everything is fuel for him,” he said. “He finds a way to not only overcome it, he finds a way to become better because of things. His attention to detail, work and commitment. He is really loved by his teammates. He has a deep care for his team and his teammates and he works for them hard. So it was a very difficult night the other night for him.”
The Sabres begin a three-game road trip tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
In other goalie news, prospect Devon Levi’s college season likely ended Saturday when Providence upset Northeastern 2-1 in overtime of the Hockey East Tournament quarterfinal.
Northeastern likely won’t receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Sabres are expected to try to sign Levi, 21, to his entry-level contract.