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Bryzgalov's 42 saves help Oilers edge Sabres

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 42 shots and Matt Hendricks' shorthanded goal 57 seconds into the third period lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Monday.

Hendricks had a breakaway when Sabres forward Cody Hodgson couldn't block a pass from Oilers forward Boyd Gordon at center ice. Hendricks deked and beat Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth with a wrist shot for his fourth goal of the season.

"Gordon made a great play there gathering the puck," Hendricks said. "I kind of expected him to dump it down. I was going to try and get down and cause a little havoc down there. He made a real skill play and gathered it and had a little time and made a great pass."

The Sabres' 44 shots on goal were a season high. Bryzgalov has won two starts in a row and has stopped 67 out of 71 shots in those games.

"I thought he was good," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said of his goaltender. "He made some great saves in close, pucks where they had really drove the net well. He couldn't see anything and the puck was coming to the net and he made himself big and he made some saves where I'm not sure he saw the puck until the last second."

The Oilers got started quickly when Jeff Petry scored his fourth goal of the season 32 seconds into the first period. Petry received a pass from forward Nail Yakupov and put a quick shot past Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead.

"You have to have that next layer of attack now," Eakins said. "You need [defensemen] coming late, but what you need is for them to know when is the time to stay in and when is the time to follow."

Ott tied the game at 8:04 of the first with a power-play goal after he swept a rebound of a Tyler Myers shot between the legs of Bryzgalov and over the line. Petry swept the puck out of the net, but video review of the play confirmed the puck fully crossed the line and gave Ott his ninth goal of the season.

The Sabres grabbed a 2-1 lead when forward Drew Stafford beat Bryzgalov with a high wrist shot for a shorthanded goal. Stafford's eighth goal of the season came in his first game back after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury.

"I thought Drew, the way he shot that puck, that's what we want to see," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "He's a big power forward, and he's starting to get his confidence back."

Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz made it 2-2 with 3:15 left in the second period when he beat Enroth over his blocker with a wrist shot. Schultz scored his eighth goal of the season after he received a pass from forward David Perron as the teams played 4-on-4 after minor penalties to Ott and Yakupov.

"Justin should get one goal and assist on that goal," Perron said. "I yelled at him as soon as [Andrew] Ference, I think he didn't even touch the puck yet, and I was yelling to get it and made a great pass over to me. I cut in the middle and I was actually going to shoot and at the last second, I saw he was going to beat his guy so I slowed down and I just kind of I laid it in there for him."

After Hendricks put the Oilers back in front, Buffalo nearly tied the game 9:47 into the third when Marcus Foligno poked the puck between Bryzgalov's legs, but officials ruled the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the line.

"The puck was laying in the crease, it was definitely still loose," Sabres forward Matt Ellis said. "Marcus went hard to the net, ended up poking her through. I guess for the ref's vantage point he lost sight of the puck, thought it was covered."

Enroth stopped 25 shots.

"Jhonny, gave us a chance, but all of us gave us a chance tonight too," Ott said. "We threw a lot of pucks at the goalie."

But Bryzgalov stood tall, putting forth one of his strongest performances of the season.

"Those are the breaks you get, he did play a pretty solid game," Ott said. "He made some huge saves on a lot of guys. We had some pretty dandy scoring opportunities. When you get those scoring opportunities, most nights you're going to win."

Myers left the game after the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. It is unknown if he will miss any time.

"Little concerned, but no news is good news," Nolan said. "So we'll see what the doctors have to say."

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