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Dumont Plays The Hero In Overtime

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres have put a chokehold on their second-round series against the Ottawa Senators. JP Dumont scored five minutes into overtime to give the Sabres the nail-biting 3-2 victory over the Senators in front of a wild crowd at the HSBC Arena on Wednesday night.

With the win, Buffalo took a commanding three games to none lead in the best-of-seven-series over the heavily favored Senators, and historically, the Sabres have never lost a seven-game series after winning the first three games.

"They could have gained a lot of momentum by winning tonight," said Lindy Ruff, whose team has now squeezed out three consecutive one-goal wins against Ottawa during the series. "I thought we probably played out best all-around game (of the series)."

Game Four - which Buffalo has never lost when leading a series 3-0 - stays in HSBC Arena on Thursday night at 7:00 PM.

"Since training camp, no one thought we were going to make the playoffs," Dumont said. "We knew we had a lot of character and talent to be better than that and we have shown everybody that we play for each other and the city of Buffalo. We don't care what people think of us, we just play our game."

Stationed at the right wing, Dumont caught Taylor Pyatt's pass that had sailed across the ice after deflecting off a stick, dropped the puck, and fired before it had settled. The result was a shot with some wicked english, the game closer and Dumont's sixth goal of the playoffs.

"It looked like Tim Wakefield," said Dumont referring to the shot's knuckle-ball characteristics. "I don't know exactly what happened but the puck went in, and I'm pretty happy about it.

"If (Pyatt) tried a direct pass, maybe I wouldn't have had time to take that shot. I saw everything happening when the puck was in the air and I knew I was going to have time to get it on net."

Dumont's victory celebration almost didn't happen. With less than five seconds remaining in regulation, Daniel Alfredsson rang a slapshot off the left post. As the potential game-winning shot deflected wide, a sigh of relief could be heard from the capacity crowd.

"The team talked about one shot, one hero," said Ruff referring to the mood in the locker room before overtime. "Somebody on the team knew they had to step up and be the hero again. JP was the guy for us."

With Teppo Numminen in the penalty box for tripping, Jason Spezza tied the game with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, and ultimately, sent it into overtime. Floating into the slot, Spezza tipped Brian Pothier's slapshot from the point between Ryan Miller's legs to make the score 2-2 at 18:30 of the third.

"They are a team that could have put a string (of goals) together," Ruff said. "We've got to make sure that doesn't happen."

Maxim Afinogenov gave Buffalo the 2-1 lead on the power play at 10:15 of the third, redirecting Derek Roy's centering pass for his third goal of the post-season.

"We haven't quit all year," said Miller who finished the game with 26 saves. "There had been games during the regular season where we had comebacks and it was nice to see that we could carry it forward into the post-season."

Spezza scored his fourth of the post-season, first of the night and tied the game 1-1 after one-timing Wade Redden's rebound off the boards into a wide-open net on a two-man Ottawa advantage at 5:47 of the third.

Chris Drury advanced Buffalo scoring-first streak to nine games when he deflected Jason Pominville's pass from the right point over the left shoulder of Emery at 9:24 of the first.

"This game could have went either direction," Ruff said. "Game One could have gone either direction. We've still got to take care of business."
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