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Sabres Find Victory in Shootout

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

November 23, 2005
by Brian Wheeler

After a disappointing 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers in a shootout on Tuesday night, the Buffalo Sabres rallied in dramatic fashion to defeat the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Forwards Ales Kotalik and Tim Connolly scored on Buffalo's first and third attempts in the shootout, while Sabres goaltender Martin Biron held New York scoreless to advance Buffalo to 12-9-1 (25 points) on the season.

"You've got to win games on the road that no one expects you to win," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff.  "In a back-to-back game and losing 3-1 after two periods, I don't think anyone expected us to come back."

Buffalo tied the game 3-3 with less than three minutes remaining in regulation when Kotalik muscled wide around defenseman Brent Sopel and flipped a forehand wristshot over New York goaltender Rick DiPietro for his 11th of the season.

"I thought our top three lines and Derek Roy played well for us," said Ruff.  "Taylor Pyatt stepped up into a bigger role, had some opportunities and played well.  Even the extra ice-time for Kotalik seemed to be something that he relished."

The comeback victory for Buffalo snaps a 61-game winning streak for the Islanders when leading after two periods and keeps the Sabres undefeated against New York this season.  Buffalo had won the previous two meetings between the two teams 6-4 each.

The Sabres were outplayed in the opening period of play but intensified when it mattered most, outshooting New York 9-1 in the third and 4-0 in overtime.

"The important thing is that after weathering the storm in the first 20 minutes and killing some penalties, the team really played a strong game," said Ruff.  "Al scored a heck of a goal and I think we dominated the overtime.

"The last ten minutes, we tried to put as much heat on as possible."

Mike York opened the scoring for the Islanders at 15:04 of the first, redirecting Chris Campoli's shot from the right wing past Biron for his third goal of the season.

For the 15th time in the last 16 games the Sabres found the back of the net on the man advantage.  Chris Drury scored his second power-play goal in as many games with less than three minutes remaining in the opening period to tie the game 1-1.

The power-play goal was the first the Islanders had given up in their opponent's last 37 opportunities.

Playing without co-captain Daniel Briere for the first time this season due to a sore hip, Buffalo was outshot 15-5 in the first.
In the second, New York continued their assault taking a 3-1 lead in the first four minutes with a pair of goals by Sopel and right wing Trent Hunter.

Jochen Hecht responded for Buffalo, tipping a Teppo Numminen shot from the blueline for his fourth goal of the season at 5:48 to decrease the New York lead to a goal heading into the third.  Hecht barely got a piece of the shot as he was cutting across the slot.
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Period 1
0-1 (15:04): Mike York gives the Islanders the lead with a little more than four minutes remaining in the first period. Chris Campoli fired a shot from the left wing that York redirects into the net for his third goal of the season.  Campoli gets the only helper.

1-1 (17:29): Chris Drury scores his second power-play goal in as many games to tie the game.  Drury batted at a loose puck to the left of Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro until he had his sixth goal of the season.  Brian Campbell and Tim Connolly record the assists.

Period 2
1-2 (3:30): Brent Sopel wrists a shot from a bad angle on the right wing that deflects off Trent Hunter's stick high over Martin Biron.  The goal is Hunter's fourth of the season.  Sopel and Mike York record the assists.

1-3 (4:22): Jason Blake beats Martin Biron for his eighth goal of the season after receiving a pass in slot and snapping a quick wristshot.  Mattias Weinhandl fed Blake with a nice pass through two Sabres from behind the net.  Weinhandl gets the only assist.

2-3 (5:48): Teppo Numminen fires a slapshot from the blueline that is tipped by Jochen Hecht past Rick DiPietro.  Hecht, who was cutting across the slot, barely got a piece of the offering.  Numminen and Chris Drury get the helpers.

Period 3
3-3 (17:11): Ales Kotalik muscles his way wide around defenseman Brent Sopel on the left side and flips a forehand shot high over Rick DiPietro to tie the game with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.  The goal is Kotalik's 11th of the season.  Brian Campbell gets the only assist.

No Scoring

BUF-Ales Kotalik lifts backhand over Rick DiPietro (1-0)
NYI-Alexei Yashin hits the left post (1-0)
BUF-Thomas Vanek is stuffed by DiPietro (1-0)
NYI-Jason Blake loses the puck (1-0)
BUF-Tim Connolly fakes and wrists a shot that DiPietro couldn't stop (2-0)
NYI-Miroslav Satan (Did not shoot)
Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.
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