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game recap

Sabres edge Oilers in 4-3 win

Monday, 08.27.2012 / 6:26 PM

NHL.com

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Sabres edge Oilers in 4-3 win
Edmonton Oilers 3, Buffalo Sabres 4
Three Stars of the Game
Drew Stafford
1st
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 18:48
Nathan Gerbe
2nd
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 17:03
Brayden McNabb
3rd
G: 0Shots: 0
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 19:51
After a series of frustrating finishes, Buffalo finally prevailed in a tight game Tuesday night.

Nathan Gerbe recorded an assist and a goal – the eventual game-winner – late in the third period, and Buffalo held off a furious Edmonton rally to beat the Oilers, 4-3, at First Niagara Center.

Buffalo (18-17-4, 40 points), which hadn't played since New Year's Eve, snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory. Jason Pominville, Jordan Leopold also scored, and Drew Stafford had a goal and two assists. Ryan Miller made 23 saves to improve to 6-0-0 lifetime against Edmonton.

The win was just Buffalo's second in eight games (2-5-1).

"We've talked about it enough. Bottom line is guys knew we just needed to go out there and get it done," Stafford said. "It feels good to get those two points. Now, hopefully we can string a few together."

Stafford started an exciting final six minutes when he finished off Derek Roy's centering pass – which had been stalled in the low slot by Gerbe – by cleaning it up past Khabibulin for a 3-2 lead at 14:34.

"I kept whacking at it, and finally got one, got a break," Stafford said. "It's nice to finally get rewarded with a break."

Stafford's high puck clearance flew over the outstretched glove of the Oilers defenseman, allowing Gerbe to sneak in behind and skate in alone on goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Gerbe skated across the goal and backhanded it up and over Khabibulin’s left shoulder at 16:38 of the third.

That goal made it 4-2, so the Sabres were forced to weather an even later surge from Edmonton. As the puck was scuttling around in front of the crease, Buffalo failed to clear and Corey Potter was in the slot to slam it past Miller for his third of the year with 1:50 to play.

Sam Gagne and Taylor Hall also scored for Edmonton (16-20-3, 38 points), which resumed its skid after a 4-3 win in Chicago on Monday snapped a seven-game losing streak.

As the game neared a close, Buffalo might have capitalized off a depleted Oilers' defense. Already missing veteran Ryan Whitney, Edmonton lost Tom Gilbert – the Oils’ top-scoring defenseman – to a lower-body injury against the Blackhawks.

"We gave Buffalo everything they could handle. It was a winnable game for us," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "We were very passionate, and we really tried to play within our structure. We didn't quit, and that's as important as anything."

Renney was forced to shuffle his lines after rookie scoring leader Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left the Chicago game with a shoulder injury.

It was a back-and-forth game through two periods. Edmonton, who outshot their opponent 9-0 to start the game, took a lead at 10:33 of the first when Taylor Hall scored his second in as many games. Hall grabbed the puck, carried it down the left side and ripped a wrister from the faceoff dot past Miller's near post.

Buffalo responded through Pominville four minutes later, tying the game heading into the first intermission despite a 14-8 Oiler advantage in shots. Jochen Hecht picked up the puck in his own zone and started a 3-on-2. He laid it off to Pominville, who blasted a shot across Miller, off the right post and in the net.

"We've been talking about the inside ones, and I said, 'We're going to have to get some guys around the crease ... and jump in,'" Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's nice to score some goals."

Stafford's vision gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead at 5:10 of the second. Skating behind the net, Stafford found Leopold to the left of the goal, and the defenseman one-timed it across Khabibulin. Edmonton pulled even on a 5-on-3 through Gagner, who was anchoring Renney's top line with Nugent-Hopkins out. With Patrick Kaleta (charging) and Gerbe (too many men) in the box, the Oilers were holding court in the Sabres' end. Jeff Petry and Gagner exchanged passes at the point, with Gagner blasting the return through Miller to retie the game.
scoring summary
1st Period
10:33
EDM
Taylor Hall (12) ASST: Ales Hemsky (9), Sam Gagner (13)
1 - 0 EDM
14:23
BUF
Jason Pominville (13) ASST: Jochen Hecht (2), Brayden McNabb (2)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
05:10
BUF
Jordan Leopold (7) ASST: Drew Stafford (14), Brayden McNabb (3)
2 - 1 BUF
09:24
EDM
PPG - Sam Gagner (5) ASST: Jeff Petry (6), Ales Hemsky (10)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
14:34
BUF
Drew Stafford (7) ASST: Nathan Gerbe (10), Derek Roy (16)
3 - 2 BUF
16:38
BUF
Nathan Gerbe (4) ASST: Drew Stafford (15)
4 - 2 BUF
18:10
EDM
Corey Potter (3) ASST: Jordan Eberle (26), Anton Lander (3)
4 - 3 BUF
penalty summary
1st Period
05:26
BUF
Mike Weber  Tripping against  Jordan Eberle
2nd Period
05:34
EDM
Ales Hemsky  Interference - Goalkeeper against  Ryan Miller
08:04
BUF
Patrick Kaleta  Charging against  Ladislav Smid
09:10
BUF
Nathan Gerbe  Too many men on the ice
3rd Period
10:54
EDM
Theo Peckham  Holding against  Nathan Gerbe
goalie stats
Nikolai Khabibulin
SA: 33TOI: 58:48
Saves: 29EV: 25 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 2
SV%: .879SH: 2 - 2
Ryan Miller
SA: 26TOI: 59:57
Saves: 23EV: 18 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 6
SV%: .885SH: 0 - 0