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Islanders 3, Sabres 2 @NHLdotcom

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -If the New York Islanders had Mike Comrie last spring, they might have put quite a scare into the Presidents' Trophy-winning Buffalo Sabres.

Comrie made the most of his first two games with the Islanders, scoring two goals for the second straight night and lifting New York to a 3-2 victory Saturday that completed a sweep of the season-opening, home-and-home series against Buffalo.

The Islanders mustered 11 goals and one win during the five-game series loss to the Sabres in the first round of the playoffs.

Rebuilding the roster after key free-agent losses of Ryan Smyth, Jason Blake and Viktor Kozlov, New York constructed a new top line by signing Comrie, captain Bill Guerin and Ruslan Fedotenko.

They have already combined for 16 points after putting up three goals and seven assists in a 6-4 win at Buffalo on Friday.

"Our line has been given a role to work hard and score goals," said Comrie, who also had two assists Friday. "We've done that. But it's two games.

"I think I'm on pace for 328 points," he said with a laugh.

Well, it's actually only 246, but who's counting?

There were smiles and laughs throughout the jubilant dressing room that celebrated the Islanders' first 2-0 start since 2001, especially since they've been seeing predictions calling for them to have a long season.

"It's been like that since I've been here," goalie Rick DiPietro said. "We've always been picked to finish last, second to last. I think we're doing the right things here to be successful."

Paying quick dividends, Comrie scored 1:39 into the third period to snap a 1-1 tie. His backhander past Ryan Miller was set up by Guerin and Fedotenko. The trio clicked again at 8:29 to make it 3-1 as Comrie took Fedotenko's pass from behind the net and flipped a shot in from the slot.

Chris Campoli scored for the second straight night, and the Islanders got 30 saves from DiPietro.

"It's an old saying that your best players have to be your best players," coach Ted Nolan said.

Jaroslav Spacek gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead for the second consecutive game, but the Sabres - who started 10-0-1 last October - couldn't hold this advantage, either. Jochen Hecht's goal with 5:49 left cut the deficit to 3-2.

Campoli, a defenseman who entered the season with 10 goals in 131 games, fired a shot from the top of the left circle that slammed into the upper right corner and ricocheted out to make it 1-1 at 4:29 of the second.

As they did in the first, the Islanders spent a chunk of the second trying to shut down Buffalo's power play. No longer the efficient machine since Chris Drury and Daniel Briere left this summer, the Sabres have failed to hit their stride.

Buffalo, 0-for-4 in the opener, is 1-for-11 overall. The Sabres pressed for the tying goal on their last chance with under 3 minutes left.

"We did a better job - they just got some breaks," Miller said. "We made a step forward, and it's not going to happen all at once."

It took three power plays and six shots for the Sabres to take advantage in a sluggish first period that featured bouncing pucks on bad ice and hard hits - before and after whistles.

Buffalo cashed in while Jon Sim was in the box for tripping, the fourth Islanders penalty.

Spacek's shot from the right point got through a screen with 6:51 left in the first. The Buffalo blue-liner had five goals last season in 81 games, including 16 during the Sabres' playoff run.

DiPietro made things interesting, as usual. After taking a shot at an empty net in the closing seconds Friday night, the active Islanders goalie nearly clipped teammate Marc-Andre Bergeron in the head during a second-period power play.

Bergeron had to hit the ice as DiPietro fired an outlet pass to Miroslav Satan that nearly led to a goal. DiPietro also jumped on a loose puck in front after making a save but almost put it in with his blocker.

Miller's best of 21 saves came when he thwarted Satan, who got behind the defense and came in alone.

"We played better ... but it's still not good enough," Hecht said. "We have to play 60-minute games."

Notes: Spacek scored a career-high 12 goals during the 2005-06 season. ... The Islanders won their first four games, all on the road, in 2001. New York has won four consecutive home openers. ... Buffalo hadn't opened a season with a home-and-home series since 1990 against Montreal. ... Sim sprained a knee and didn't return.

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