David Duprey, Associated Press
In this Jan. 11, 2012 photo, Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff talks with players during NHL hockey practice in Buffalo, N.Y. Inconsistent goaltending, a popgun offense and a rash of injuries have combined to dash the high expectations that followed new owner Terry Pegula's free-spending summer.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sabres owner Terry Pegula says injuries are the root cause for his underachieving team's struggles, and is confident Buffalo will bounce back in the second half.

Pegula noted that the team has had 18 players miss at least one game to injury this season, and projects "we'll get Humpty back together" by the NHL All-Star break in two weeks.

Pegula says it's too early to consider a shake-up because it's difficult to evaluate team needs. The first-year owner backs Lindy Ruff, saying the coach has had his hands full dealing with an injury-riddled lineup. He asked fans to be patient.

Heading into Friday's game against Toronto, the Sabres have not won two in a row in going 8-14-5 over their past 27 games.