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Sabres' comeback stuns Wild

by John Kreiser
Two weeks into the new season, there are no more unbeaten teams in the NHL.

The Buffalo Sabres took care of that on Thursday night by rallying for a 4-3 overtime victory over Minnesota. The Wild had won their first four games and came into the night as the only team that hadn't lost either in regulation and overtime.

Derek Roy's overtime goal capped Buffalo's comeback from a two-goal deficit that began on Adam Mair's tip-in with four minutes left in regulation. Thomas Vanek's League-high eighth of the season 46 seconds later stunned the sellout crowd at the Xcel Energy Center and sent the game into OT.

"We had a bad 2 1/2 minutes there," said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, almost in disbelief of the outcome. "Our best period was the third. Just a couple plays around the net that we're hoping to get the puck. They get the puck, make a play and it's in the net."


"Ryan Miller has certiantly done more than his fair share..."


"Once again the Sabres decide to pull it out in the 3rd..."


"I was genuinely nervous going into Minnesota..."

Buffalo improved to 6-0-1 when Henrik Tallinder carried the puck down the right side and shoveled it in front. Roy stuffed it past Niklas Backstrom and into the net 44 seconds into overtime for his first goal of the season.

"We're going to carry every win we can get. You've got to win a little bit ugly sometimes and you've got to get lucky," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said.

Said Roy: "Henrik made a great play carrying it up ice. I just tried to stuff it in."

It was the second time in three days that the Sabres rallied to win after trailing by two goals.

"Everyone kept skating," Roy said. "We stuck with the plan. It was just a matter of time before one went in. Mair's tip-in got the whole bench jumping."

Before the Sabres' rally, the Wild appeared to be on the way to its fifth consecutive victory. Minnesota had allowed just eight goals all season until the late collapse.

Drew Stafford gave the Sabres the lead 14:43 into the game, but the Wild tied it at 9:57 of the second period when Benoit Pouliot one-timed a shot past Ryan Miller after Miller had stopped Derek Boogaard. Stephane Veilleux put the Wild in front at 14:50, beating Miller over the shoulder from the slot.

"The second was great for us," Backstrom said. "It feels bad to lose a game like this, but its hockey. We have to learn from this and be sharp and strong in the future."

It became 3-1 just 29 seconds into the third period when Miller tried to sweep the puck away from the onrushing Brent Burns — only to accidentally backhand the puck into his own net.

"That was about the most embarrassing thing I've ever done in my life," Miller said. "I took my eye off it to see where I could put it, and when I looked back the puck wasn't where I thought it would be. So I tried to backhand it, and a guy kind of hit my stick."

Mair's tip gave the Sabres a spark, and Vanek's rising shot from the left circle tied the game.

"We've been showing this all year," said Vanek, a college star at the University of Minnesota. "Obviously it's not something we look for, to be down late in the game, but it shows good character for the team — never quitting."

Despite the lost point, Lemaire said he's still pleased with his team's 4-0-1 mark, which has come despite injuries to prominent players such as Marian Gaborik and Owen Nolan.

"Oh yes, definitely," he said when asked if he was happy with his team's record. "I really like the way we played. It's very positive. I liked pretty much every player tonight."


Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 2 | VIDEO

Toronto spotted the Bruins a 2-0 lead before coming back to dominate the final two periods and skate off with a win in Boston to end a five-game losing streak.

Anton Stralman snapped a 2-2 tie when he scored with 9:14 left in regulation, and Niklas Hagman added an empty-net, power-play goal


"The fact is, Leaf fans are loyal to a team that disappoints..."


"Wilson needs to keep the same lineup for Saturday..."


"I will no less welcome you back with open arms..."

The Bruins got goals 31 seconds apart by Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler late in the first period, but were unable to do any more damage against Vesa Toskala. It was Bergeron's first goal in more than a year — he missed all but 10 games last season with a severe concussion.

''It was great to just get back at it, play hockey, have fun,'' said Bergeron, who missed the last 72 games and the playoffs with a severe concussion. ''It's my passion, and obviously scoring goals is a part of it.''

But the Leafs, who hadn't won since beating Detroit on opening night, cut the margin to 2-1 at 6:17 of the second period when defenseman Mike Van Ryn scored a power-play goal. Nik Antropov pulled the Leafs even at 8:30, finishing off a pass from Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Stralman beat Tim Thomas to give the Leafs their first lead, and Hagman scored after the Leafs twice hit posts with the net empty.
It was the second straight game that Toronto came back to tie it after falling behind 2-0 in the first. The Leafs lost 3-2 in a shootout to Anaheim on Tuesday. At 2-2-3, they have seven points in seven games.
''It's a young team and they're not going to give up and they're not going to think, 'Oh, here we go again from last year or the year before,''' coach Ron Wilson said. ''This group seems to really enjoy playing with each other, and tonight was a lot of fun.''

Stars 5, Islanders 3 | VIDEO

One night after being blown out by New Jersey in Newark, the Stars rebounded and made it look easy on Long Island — largely thanks to Mike Ribeiro.

Dallas' All-Star center set up three goals in the first period, added another assist in the second and closed out the best night of his NHL career with a power-play goal at 18:27 of the middle period. The five points were one more than he'd had in Dallas' first seven games.

"I just felt good tonight," Ribeiro said. "It's good for my confidence, and things just felt right tonight. It was a good game overall. We killed some penalties, blocked shots and were good on special teams. We got second effort tonight, and hopefully we can build on this going forward."

Loui Eriksson steered in a pass from Ribeiro for a power-play goal at 3:30, Brenden Morrow finished off a feed at 14:13 and Ribeiro knocked down a clear before carrying in and feeding Eriksson for his second goal at 18:22.

"Frustration was mounting but everything felt right and we obviously clicked tonight," Morrow said. "Marty (Turco) came up huge, we had a big kill and got some good breaks. It's a lot easier to defend when you have a lead and we were able to create some turnovers and possess the puck. We can look at tonight as a success, but we won't get too far ahead of ourselves."
"I just felt good tonight. It's good for my confidence, and things just felt right tonight. It was a good game overall. We killed some penalties, blocked shots and were good on special teams. We got second effort tonight, and hopefully we can build on this going forward." -- Mike Ribeiro

The trio of Ribeiro, Morrow and Eriksson combined for 10 points.

"That line was very good," coach Dave Tippett said. "They were dominant, and Ribeiro with five points was outstanding."

Krystofer Barch and Ribeiro added second-period goals for Dallas, which completed its three-game swing through the New York area with a 2-1 record despite an awful showing against New Jersey.

"We'd been giving up some early goals," Turco said. "Tonight, that wasn't the case. We let some goals get through last night. It was a lot better effort tonight."

The Islanders, who hadn't played since Saturday, looked lost during the first period as Dallas skated to a 3-0 lead. Bill Guerin scored midway through the second period and third-period goals by Mark Streit and Jon Sim made the outcome look closer than it realty was.

"It's hard when you're in a 3-0 hole," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said after his team fell to 2-4-0.

After a second straight home loss, Gordon was left to look for silver linings.

"I saw a better job on the forecheck," he said. "We created some opportunities. There was less thinking and more reaction. That's a positive."

Flames 5, Predators 3 | VIDEO

Nashville tied a team mark for the fastest three goals in franchise history, but Jarome Iginla's hat trick helped Calgary came back from the three-goal deficit to burn the Predators.

It was Calgary's second win in a row after a 1-3-1 start.

"It's a good sign for us," said goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 35 saves.

"You just have to keep believing there is still time. It was an unbelievable comeback and huge points for us."

Greg Zanon, Jordin Tootoo and Jason Arnott beat Kiprusoff in a 2:28 span in the second period — the fastest that Nashville had ever scored three goals.

But before the Preds could enjoy their lead, Iginla began Calgary's comeback by beating Dan Ellis with a one-timer from the right circle at 14:04.

"A goal like that always gives you momentum," Calgary coach Mike Keenan said. "I think that was the big goal for us."

The roof fell in on the Predators in the final 20 minutes.

Iginla got his second goal at 6:52 of the third period, and David Moss tied it from the edge of the crease at 8:05. Mike Cammalleri put Calgary ahead for the first time at 12:31 with a power-play redirection of Dion Phaneuf's shot. Iginla added an empty-netter with three seconds left to complete his hat trick.

"In the second period we pretty much owned Calgary," Ellis said. "Then in the third we just kind of let up and they took it to us.

"They were getting pucks and people to the net and they were banging home their rebounds. They just wanted it a little more than us."

No one wanted it more than Iginla.

"He's a world-class player," Tootoo said of the Flames' captain. "Every time he's on the ice, you've got to be aware of him and you've got to take time and space away from him."

Avalanche 4, Oilers 1 | VIDEO

After opening their season with three consecutive losses, the Avs are on a roll. The NHL's highest-scoring team won its fourth in a row behind goals by Ian Laperriere, Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny and Cody McLeod, plus a 25-save effort by Peter Budaj.

After Shawn Horcoff put the Oilers ahead 3:40 into the second period, the Avs took control of the game.

Laperriere tied it at 12:38 with his first of the season. Stastny and McLeod added goals 1:05 apart late in the second period, staking the Avalanche to a 3-1 lead. Stastny has at least a point in all seven games, the longest streak for a Colorado player to start a season since Sakic's eight-game run in 1999.

"I get a couple bounces here and there," Stastny said of the streak. "The most important thing is we're winning. If you get the points or you don't, as long as the team is winning. It's always a good mood in the locker room and good to be around these guys."

Sakic scored career goal No. 625 at 3:32 of the third period off a feed from Darcy Tucker.

Budaj won for the second straight game after losing his first three starts.

"I felt good. Most of all, I think our team played really well, especially in the third period," Budaj said. "We’re up 3-1 going into the third and our third was great. We didn't allow any odd-man rushes and our penalty kill was really good. We were blocking shots, doing the little things."

The Oilers are the opposite of the Avalanche — they started with four wins in a row, including a 3-2 victory over the Avs, but have dropped back-to-back games at Chicago and Colorado.

"We played good in the first half, but for this game we needed to play for 60 minutes," goaltender Mathieu Garon said. "They had a great effort."

Coyotes 2, Capitals 1 | VIDEO

Washington's high-powered offense doesn't seem to have made the trip West. For the second game in a row, the Caps scored just once, couldn't hold a lead and lost.

The Coyotes held Alex Ovechkin without a point. His best chance came in the final minute, when he found himself alone in the slot only to be robbed by Mikael Tellqvist, who was making his first start of the season.

Still, the Caps took a 1-0 lead when Brooks Laich beat Tellqvist during a power play at 8:18. But they couldn't get the second goal — and paid the price.

"We talk about not playing a prevent defense, and then that's exactly what we do," an unhappy coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We made two really bad plays that created two goals. Then we got some sense of urgency in the final six minutes and couldn't score."

Rookie Mikkel Boedker tied the score at 2:29, wristing a feed from Olli Jokinen behind Jose Theodore after Jokinen stole the puck from rookie defenseman Tyler Sloan. Peter Mueller put the Coyotes ahead to stay at 6:32, firing a cross-ice pass from Martin Hanzal into a half-empty net.

"We know we're a good third-period team," said Boedker, Phoenix's first pick in the 2008 Entry Draft. "We came out hard, and it showed on the scoreboard."

The rest of the night belonged to Tellqvist, who sat through five games before getting his chance to play. He finished with 31 saves as the Coyotes ended a three-game losing streak.

"He was outstanding," coach Wayne Gretzky said of his netminder. "The team really seems to rally around Telly."

Tellqvist was told Monday that he'd be getting the start. He said the advance notice allowed him time to get ready.

"I got a chance to watch a few of their games," he said. "I had a clue about what they try to do, especially on the power play. The first game you're always a little extra nervous. But I was ready."

Jose Theodore finished with 32 saves for the Capitals, who had not lost in Phoenix since Oct. 31, 2001. The road team had won each of the past five meetings.

Contact John Kreiser at

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

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