No matter what he accomplishes, former Capital Clint Malarchuk knows he will be remembered as the goalie who nearly died when his neck was sliced open two seasons ago.
"It's sometimes frustrating, because this is my 10th year as a pro and I'm remembered for that," Malarchuk said. "Not for a great glove save -- I'm remembered as Scarneck."
On March 22, 1989, St. Louis forward Steve Tuttle was rushing toward Malarchuk's net when he was checked by Sabres defenseman Uwe Krupp. Malarchuk was going down to trap the loose puck when Tuttle's skate became airborne and sliced a six-inch gash in Malarchuk's neck, severing a jugular vein.
A bright red circle grew quickly in the crease as blood pumped from the severed vein. The Sabres' medical staff reacted quickly to stop the blood flow and get Malarchuk to the hospital.
Malarchuk never blamed Tuttle, who stayed awake many nights reliving the incident, just as Malarchuk did. But Malarchuk does have a beef with the magnetic posts the NHL uses to attach the net to the ice.
With the nets riding on the magnets, a forward "doesn't have to worry," Malarchuk said, "because if he hits the goalie, it's not going to hurt and if he hits the net it's not going to hurt, it just pops off."
Malarchuk can joke about his injury now.
"I used to take a drink and let it dribble out of my mouth down my neck and then grab a napkin and yell, 'Oh, oh, that sucker still leaks.' Mom once said to me, 'You can laugh at just about anything that's happening.' "
He has helped the Sabres build a five-game unbeaten streak. Malarchuk had two of the team's four victories during the streak -- 6-0 over Hartford and 2-1 over Calgary -- as well as a 3-3 tie against Boston in which he was the main reason Buffalo didn't lose.
Fourth in the NHL in goals-against average (2.31) and seventh in save percentage (.922), Malarchuk is playing better than No. 1 goaltender, Daren Puppa.
Boston has not allowed a power-play goal in its last six games, killing off 29 disadvantages. Prior to that, the Bruins had allowed three power-play goals in consecutive losses to Edmonton and Calgary. . . . Winnipeg G Bob Essensa was named NHL player of the week. Essensa won both his starts, including a 1-0 overtime victory over Edmonton. . . . Vancouver recalled LW Gary Valk from Milwaukee (IHL), where he had 12 goals in 10 games.