BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Comeback wins might be fun. Miroslav Satan showed the
Buffalo Sabres a less dramatic _ and just as satisfying _ way to victory.
Satan scored a career-high four goals, including the 250th of his career,
leading the Sabres to a 7-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday.
Daniel Briere had a goal and two assists, while Ales Kotalik and Andy
Delmore also scored, helping the Sabres to their fourth straight victory and
eighth in their last nine games.
The only difference this time around was how Buffalo won, building a 2-0
first-period lead on goals by Satan and Briere and never letting up. Satan
scored three more 8:24 apart in the third period to put Buffalo up 7-1.
That's a distinct turnaround from Buffalo's last three games, each won after
the Sabres fell behind. That includes a 6-4 victory at Toronto on Saturday, a
game in which the Sabres trailed 3-0.
``This shows we can win games in a much more comfortable way,'' Satan said
with a smile.
Buffalo trailed Los Angeles 3-1 Friday, before rallying for an 8-3 win. The
Sabres also overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat San Jose 2-1 last Tuesday.
``I don't care how we win it, whether we get down one or two, but as long as
we win the game,'' coach Lindy Ruff said. ``I didn't know how the team was
going to react after two big emotional games ... but they played one of their
The Sabres have 21 goals in their last three games _ the team's best stretch
since scoring 24 in three games from Dec. 31, 1992 to Jan. 3, 1993. It's also
the most in the NHL in a three-game stretch since Pittsburgh scored 21 from
March 23-26, 1996.
The outburst comes at a great time for the ninth-place Sabres, who moved to
within four points of the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens in the race
for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.
Ilya Kovalchuk (team-high 30th goal) and Randy Robitaille scored power-play
goals for the Thrashers, 1-9-2 in their last 12 games. Atlanta has not won
consecutive road games since March 2003.
``We just came out flat,'' Atlanta center Marc Savard said. ``If I could
pinpoint what was going wrong, I would stop it. It's a tough thing right now.''
The Thrashers have lost seven of eight, and have given up at least four
goals in each loss. The lone exception during that stretch was a 4-1 win at
Vancouver on Friday.
Starter Pasi Nurminen allowed three goals on 16 shots, and was pulled
shortly after Kotalik scored six minutes into the second period. Byron Dafoe
took over and allowed four goals on 19 shots.
Satan got his second goal 53 seconds into the third period, converting a
rebound after Dafoe stopped Brian Campbell's point shot.
After Robitaille got the Thrashers on the scoreboard 42 seconds later, Satan
stuffed in a loose puck to make it 6-1 at the 2:08 mark. He then capped his run
by scoring on a backhander from a bad angle just over seven minutes later.
``I was kind of surprised myself because I think two of them were gifts from
upstairs,'' Satan said. ``But it's good to see we can score six, seven, eight
goals sometimes. It definitely gives us confidence we can play against any
Satan's third goal gave him 500 points in the NHL. It's the third time this
season _ and seventh of his career _ that he scored at least three.
Alexander Mogilny was the last Buffalo player with four goals in a game, on
Feb. 24, 1993.