BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ J.P. Dumont shook his head in delight, describing his
opportunistic goal that helped spark the Buffalo Sabres' victory.
The New York Rangers were shaking their heads, too _ wondering what's
happened to their high-priced offense.
Dumont's first-period power-play goal that banked in off New York defenseman
Tom Poti's skate helped lift the Sabres to a 3-1 victory over the Rangers on
The goal was another example of the fortunate bounces the Sabres are getting
in winning their season-high fourth straight game and fifth in their last six.
``Sometimes lucky goals are important and tonight it was,'' said Dumont, who
was attempting to thread a pass through the crease from a bad angle. ``It just
gave us momentum, and after that everybody just played with confidence.''
Maxim Afinogenov also scored a power-play goal and Miroslav Satan added an
empty-netter, allowing the Sabres to complete a two-game sweep of the Rangers,
after Friday night's 3-1 win in New York. Martin Biron stopped 31 shots to win
his fifth straight start, a stretch in which he's allowed just seven goals.
Joel Bouchard scored for the slumping Rangers, who have lost three straight,
seven of their last eight.
``Slowly but surely, we've dug ourselves a big hole,'' Rangers forward Bobby
Holik said. ``We could've put ourselves in a good position to win this game
like they did.''
And this is not what was expected from a New York team that recently
acquired Jaromir Jagr, and his hefty contract, in a deal with Washington.
Jagr has managed just a goal and two assists _ all in a 5-2 win over Florida
on Monday night _ in five games since joining the Rangers.
``I'm frustrated that I couldn't help the team and score goals,'' said Jagr,
who had four shots on goal against the Sabres. ``I love this team and I want us
to succeed. ... We need to get some breaks.''
Saturday's game turned in the opening 10 minutes when the Rangers managed
just one shot during a two-man advantage over an 86-second span.
The Sabres, in comparison, capitalized on a two-minute, two-man advantage of
their own when Dumont opened the scoring eight minutes into the game.
Afinogenov scored seven minutes later pouncing on a loose puck in the right
circle and, with two Rangers defenders watching, snapping a shot inside the far
Bouchard capped a four-on-one rush to cut the Sabres lead to 2-1 seven
minutes into the second period. But the Rangers were unable to pull even
despite out-shooting the Sabres 32-29.
Jagr had New York's best chance with 12:35 remaining, set up for a one-timer
by Brian Leetch's feed from behind the Buffalo net. But Biron came up big,
sliding across to get a piece of Jagr's shot.
The Rangers finished 0-for-5 in power-play opportunities, and are now
0-for-16 in their last five games.
The Sabres have scored two power-play goals in each of their last three