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Newest Sabres Find Success

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

March 15, 2007
by Brian Wheeler

Buffalo's two newest Sabres played major roles in snapping the Sabres out of a four-game winless streak on Saturday night.

Starting his first game since being acquired from Columbus, Ty Conklin was spectacular in net turning away 42 shots and Dainius Zubrus scored Buffalo's second goal of the game as the Sabres skated away with a 5-3 victory at the BankAtlantic Center.

"Ty played really well for us," said Lindy Ruff, whose is now five points shy of clinching a playoff berth. "He didn't make a lot of mistakes and it was good to see him get his first game in.

"It gives everybody a lot of confidence."

Conklin hadn't started an NHL game since Feb. 25 and hadn't won since Jan. 30. He had little time to get adjusted as Buffalo was peppered by 15 shots in the opening period.

"It was nice to make a couple of saves early and feel a little bit more comfortable since I haven't played in a while," said Conklin, who played 12 minutes and made eight saves in replacement of Ryan Miller on Mar. 9 against Minnesota. "I was able to get my feet wet pretty quick."

Conklin added: "My mindset going into it was that you want to make a good impression. You want guys to feel confident with you in net, not just the coaching staff, but most importantly, the players."

Getting out shot 45-20 for the game, Buffalo rebounded from a 2-1 deficit midway through the second to win their first game since Mar. 3 with a pair of goals from Drew Stafford and a three-assist night by Brian Campbell.

"That was an important win for us," said Stafford, who has eight goals this season. "We have to get back on track and it feels good in the locker room to get a win."

Stephen Weiss backhanded Martin Gelinas' rebound over a diving Conklin to give Florida the 1-0 lead at 13:16 of the first. Weiss' 18th of the season snapped a three-game pointless streak for the 23-year-old center.

Buffalo tied the game in the opening minute of the second as Jochen Hecht spun a blind, backhand pass to Jason Pominville cutting to the net.

Pominville recorded his 29th goal of the season one-timing the centering feed past Ed Belfour to tie the game 1-1 just 32 seconds into the middle frame. The goal gave the 24-year-old three points (2+1) in his last two games.

"Anytime you can start a period like that is huge," said Stafford. "We've been victim to a couple of early period goals the past few games that has given the opposing team a lot of momentum. For once, we get one of those, get some momentum going and I thought we had a great second period."

Cutting through the slot, Zubrus redirected Henrik Tallinder's slapshot just inside the right post to tie the game 2-2 at 9:35.

After a slow start after joining the Sabres on the trade deadline, Zubrus is starting to heat up. After failing to score in his first four games in a Buffalo sweater, Zubrus has tallied a pair of goals in his last three. He had amassed 20 goals for Washington while playing alongside Alex Ovechkin in Washington this season.

His first goal for Buffalo came against New Jersey last Saturday when he beat Martin Brodeur high glove.

"We just had to get back to playing and skating," said Stafford.

Weaving through the slot, Campbell received a pass from Thomas Vanek and fed Stafford at the right post with an across-crease pass for the easy redirect into the wide-open net. The goal was Stafford's seventh of the season, first in five games, and gave Buffalo the 3-2 lead at 12:43 of the second.

Horton netted his second of the night one-timing Mike Van Ryn's rebound into a wide-open net at 2:45 of the third.

Chris Drury regained the Buffalo lead deflecting Campbell's blast from the left point at 9:50 of the third.

Buffalo took its largest lead with another great pass from Campbell to setup Stafford.

Cutting behind the net, Campbell swung a pass into the slot that Stafford one-timed pass Ed Belfour to record his eighth of the season and second of the night at 15:17 to make the score 5-3. Campbell has recorded 13 assists in the last 12 games.
Quotes courtesy WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.
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