Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 
SHARE

Sabres snap slump, beat Habs behind Lalime

Thursday, 03.05.2009 / 12:43 AM / Roundup

By Brian Hunter - NHL.com Staff Writer

In the continued absence of Ryan Miller, the Buffalo Sabres went out and added a goaltender before Wednesday afternoon's trade deadline. Hours later, Patrick Lalime made a statement that he can hold the fort just fine until Miller's ankle injury is healed.

Lalime stopped 38 shots and came within 1:06 of his first shutout of the season, leading the Sabres to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. It was the backup goaltender's third victory this season and first at HSBC Arena.

Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad each scored a pair of goals as Buffalo finally got Lalime some offense to work with after managing just three goals in his last three starts -- all losses. Jaroslav Spacek also scored as the Sabres moved into a tie for ninth in the Eastern Conference with Carolina, one point out of a playoff berth.

"It was only a matter of time before we got some goals," said Lalime, who snapped an 0-5-1 skid. "It's nice playing with a lead. It makes everybody's job easier."

With Miller's injury forcing Lalime into a starting role, Buffalo added a veteran presence in net prior to the game by acquiring Mikael Tellqvist from Phoenix. The 29-year-old has six seasons of NHL experience with the Coyotes and the Maple Leafs.

Lalime, who hadn't won since a Dec. 13 start in New Jersey, kept the first 36 shots he saw out of the net before Tomas Plekanec finally beat him for the Canadiens' only goal.

"It's awesome," coach Lindy Ruff said. "We knew we had a good goalie and he's really stepped up for us in Ryan's absence. That's not easy. There's a lot of pressure there."

 
 
While Lalime shined, it was another rough night for Carey Price, who got the start with Jaroslav Halak battling the flu. Halak had started and won four straight. Price, on the other hand, fell to 2-9-1 since returning from an ankle injury of his own. He made 22 saves on Wednesday.

"It's just the way it's going right now," Price said. "I didn't feel that great to be honest. I felt a little rusty. I have to play better."

Roy broke the ice with 2:07 left in the first period, putting the puck into an open left side of the net after Spacek's shot from the right circle caromed off a defender and took a fortuitous bounce in front. He added his 24th of the season 2:59 into the second after being set up by a blind pass from Daniel Paille out of the corner.

Spacek scored unassisted for a 3-0 lead at the 9:07 mark. The defenseman jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone and cruised past a flat-footed Patrice Brisebois at the blue line before beating Price with a drive from the left circle.

Gaustad added a pair of specialty-team goals in the third to make it a rout. He notched a power-play goal at 6:10 and then a shorthanded tally at 11:03 to give him nine goals for the season.

Buffalo got leading goal scorer Thomas Vanek back after a broken jaw sidelined him for nine games, of which the team lost six. Vanek, whose 32 goals currently rank eighth in the League, was held scoreless while taking 21 shifts for a total of 13:42 of ice time. The Sabres also acquired Dominic Moore from Toronto for a second-round draft pick they got from the Oilers in a trade for Ales Kotalik.

Red Wings 3, Avalanche 2
| VIDEO

The defending Stanley Cup champions once again sit atop the Western Conference standings.

Ty Conklin made 25 saves and Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen and Kris Draper had goals as the Wings passed San Jose for top seed in the West and the lead in the President's Trophy race with 94 points. The Sharks have played three fewer games.

''You want to try to stay up there,'' Franzen said. ''I think we are starting to play better and better.''

Detroit and Colorado sit at opposite ends of the Western Conference spectrum, but the Wings had lost their first three meetings with the Avalanche this season before gaining a one-goal victory Wednesday night at Pepsi Center.

"Our trade deadline was made very clear to me this summer when we acquired Hoss, that we were done.  The way the cap works and the amount of players we had and what we have at Grand Rapids [of the AHL] … the other thing is, we've traded players since the new cap rules came in, and it's amazing when you give away your picks and you're sitting at the draft and you see the other teams are getting better, how tough it is. So I think it's real important we want to win now and we want to keep winning and we want to win for a long time." -- Detroit coach Mike Babcock
Meanwhile, the Avalanche returned home from a 1-5 road trip and suffered their sixth consecutive defeat overall, tying the record since the franchise relocated to Denver. John-Michael Liles opened the scoring and Milan Hejduk scored late to make the game close, but Colorado remained last in the West, 11 points out of a playoff spot.

"It's not much fun right now, obviously, when you're losing so many hockey games," Hejduk said. "We don't play really with confidence right now, that's a part of it too, so [we need to] somehow get it back and play with confidence and enjoy the last 17 games.

Liles' eighth of the season opened the scoring 2:57 into the first period, but Filppula tied the score in the waning seconds of the period. With the scoreboard clock malfunctioning and the public address announcer counting down the final minute, Filppula got his eighth goal with 19 seconds remaining.

"It really hasn't been easy to score this year for me," said Filppula, who had a career-high 19 goals last season. "I've been trying to shoot more and I think I've been able to shoot a little more, too, so that's a good thing."

Franzen put the Wings in front to stay 7:03 into the second and Draper scored what ended up as the game-winner with 6:27 left in the period.

Andrew Raycroft stopped 27 shots before the Avalanche pulled him in the game's final minutes and Hejduk capitalized for a 6-on-5 goal with 1:41 left. But Colorado was unable to manage the equalizer.

Detroit played without top goal scorer Marian Hossa, who left the ice on a stretcher after slamming into the end boards Tuesday night in St. Louis. Hossa was hospitalized briefly but made the trip to Colorado and is listed as day-to-day. The Wings were quiet as Wednesday's trade deadline came and went.

"Our trade deadline was made very clear to me this summer when we acquired Hoss, that we were done," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "The way the cap works and the amount of players we had and what we have at Grand Rapids [of the AHL] … the other thing is, we've traded players since the new cap rules came in, and it's amazing when you give away your picks and you're sitting at the draft and you see the other teams are getting better, how tough it is. So I think it's real important we want to win now and we want to keep winning and we want to win for a long time."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.

 
Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure