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Sabres snap slump by shutting down Oilers 3-1

by Brian Compton /

Leave it to Ryan Miller to stop the bleeding.

The Buffalo Sabres goaltender helped kill a five-minute penalty late in the third period on Wednesday night and finished with 28 saves in a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers at HSBC Arena. The victory snapped Buffalo's (10-4-1) two-game skid.

Buffalo lost key penalty killer Mike Grier earlier in the period due to a groin injury. But Miller and his teammates still managed to kill the boarding major handed to Clarke MacArthur when he knocked Liam Reddox headfirst into the boards with 6:15 remaining.

''We took some penalties we didn't want to take, but we'll move forward,'' Miller said. ''Our desperation was really high and I thought we did a great job of holding on for the win.''

The hit on Reddox left Oilers coach Pat Quinn seething. Reddox will need X-rays on a swollen wrist. He also sustained a cut on his face.

''Watching it on tape, (MacArthur) knew exactly what he was doing,'' Quinn said. ''I don't have anything to say on it. His head got smacked, and he took a pretty nasty hit.''

Drew Stafford, Steve Montador and Jochen Hecht scored for the Sabres, who have won four in a row against Edmonton and are 4-0 this season against the Western Conference. Tim Connolly chipped in with two assists.

Stafford opened the scoring with 4:29 left in the first period when he took a pass from Thomas Vanek and lifted a backhander from in tight over Nikolai Khabibulin's left shoulder for his team-leading fifth goal.

Buffalo made it 2-0 at 7:34 of the second, when Montador took a feed from Connolly and fired a slap shot from the right circle for his first goal of the season.

Patrick O'Sullivan cut the deficit in half during a two-man advantage, as he one-timed a feed from Ales Hemsky with 2:11 left in the second period for his third goal of the season.

But the Oilers failed to get the equalizer during the five-minute power play in the third, and Hecht sealed the deal with an empty-net goal with 19 seconds left.

''We were scrambling around,'' said O'Sullivan, who also hit two posts. ''That's the way it's been lately -- not quite able to get the goal when we needed it. The one positive thing is we're playing a lot harder. We didn't get the result tonight, but we certainly applied more pressure and limited the other team's shots.''

Material from wire services was used in this report

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