February 12, 2006
by Brian Wheeler
It took 12 shooters and three rounds of sudden death in a shootout for a winner to be determined between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. After Jason Pominville
's attempt was stuffed by Martin Gerber, Eric Staal faked and fired a wristshot over Ryan Miller
right pad to give Carolina the 4-3 shootout victory on Sunday night.
"Playing with to the bitter end, the desperation with there (to win the game)," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, whose team finished a streak of three games in four nights. "We came into a building where (Carolina) didn't play the night before and we had played less than 24 hours ago, I thought our club did a heck of a job."
Buffalo concludes February with a record of 4-0-2, claiming 10 of a possible 12 points in the process, as the team will not play again until March 1 due to the two week Olympic break.
"We want to treat coming out of the break just like we treated coming out of training camp," said Ruff. "You want to be on top of your game and there are going to be a lot of desperate teams coming off the break that are going to be vying for valuable points."
The Sabres boasted a one-goal lead heading into the third period but a blast from Ray Whitney was redirected by Justin Williams just inside the left post five minutes into the final period to even the score and ultimately send the game into overtime.
"Anytime you have fatigue in your game, you don't make good decisions and you're passing isn't quite as sharp," said Ruff. "Our power play was a half a second off and we missed the net on a lot of pretty good opportunities, but when it came to competing and fighting in the trenches, it was a tremendous effort."
Miller, who made 30 saves in the contest, was spectacular in regulation and overtime. The rookie netminder stopped all seven Carolina shots in the extra period including Ray Whitney's breakaway offering with just 1:32 remaining.
Buffalo received a pair of goals from JP Dumont, his first multiply goal game of the season, and an individual marker by Derek Roy
. Maxim Afinogenov finished the night was a pair of assists to give him five points (2+3) in three games.
Facing a huge challenge against the sixth-best power play unit in the league, Buffalo's penalty kill stifled Carolina, holding the Hurricanes scoreless in nine opportunities.
Niclas Wallin fired a slapshot from the point that beats Ryan Miller
over his right shoulder to give Carolina the 1-0 with just four minutes remaining in the first.
After receiving a drop-pass from Paul Gaustad in Carolina's zone, Afinogneov finds Dumont on the right wing for an easy wristshot over a diving Gerber and Dumont's first of the contest to tie the game 1-1 at 7:36 of the second.
Erik Cole regains the lead for Carolina a minute later. Staal's centering pass deflected off Toni Lydman's skate to Cory Stillman, who found Cole alone in front of Buffalo's net. Cole showed great patience in waiting for Miller to commit on the play before flipping a backhand shot over the netminder's glove for his 26th of the season.
With Dumont's second of the night, Buffalo evened the score 2-2 on the power play. Brian Campbell's slapshot from the left point was blocked in front where Dumont collects the loose puck and slides a trickler under Gerber's right pad.
Off a Carolina turnover in their own zone, Afinogneov attempted to beat Gerber on the short side but the offering kicked of the netminder's pads to Roy at the right post where the second-year center gave Buffalo the 3-2 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the second.
Whitney fired a bullet from the right point that is redirected by Williams just inside the left post to tie the game five minutes into the third.
------------------------ SCORING REPORTS
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift Chart GAME BLOG:
0-1 (16:16): Niclas Wallin fired a slapshot from the point that beats Ryan Miller
over his right shoulder. The goal is Wallin's third of the season. The goal was unassisted. Period 2
1-1 (7:36): After receiving a drop-pass from Paul Gaustad in Carolina's zone, Maxim Afinogneov finds JP Dumont on the right wing for an easy wristshot over a diving Gerber. The goal is Dumont's ninth of the season. Afinogenov and Gaustad get the helpers.
1-2 (8:36): Erik Cole regains the lead for Carolina, flipping a backhand shot over the glove of Miller. Eric Staal's centering pass deflected off Toni Lydman's skate to Cory Stillman, who found Cole alone in front of Buffalo's net. The goal is Cole's 26th of the season. Stillman gets the primary assist, while Staal gets the secondary.
2-2 (16:58): JP Dumont scored his second goal of the night on the power play to even the score. Brian Campbell's slapshot from the left point was blocked in front where Dumont slide the puck under Gerber's right pad. The goal is Dumont's 10th of the season. Campbell and Taylor Pyatt get the helpers.
3-2 (17:55): Off a Carolina turnover in their own zone, Afinogneov attempted to beat Gerber on the short side but the offering kicked of the netminder's pads to Derek Roy
at the right post. The goal is Roy's seventh of the season. Afinogenov registers the lone assist. Period 3
3-3 (5:07): Ray Whitney fires a bullet from the right point that is redirected by Justin Williams just inside the left post to tie the game. The goal is Williams' 19th of the season. Whitney and Matt Cullen get the helpers. Overtime
No Scoring Shootout
Ales Kotalik - wristshot five-hole (save) 0-0
Ray Whitney - Fires wide right 0-0 Thomas Vanek
- Attempt to kick puck back to stick (miss) 0-0
Matt Cullen - Leg fake, wristshot above right pad 0-1
Max Afinogenov - Pulls puck to backhand and goes five-hole 1-1
Erik Cole - backhand (save) 0-0 Sudden Death
JP Dumont - shoots wide 1-1
Rod Brind'amour - dekes, poke check by Miller 1-1
------------------------ Derek Roy
- Backhand top shelf 2-1
Justin Williams - Wristshot top shelf 2-2
------------------------ Jason Pominville
- Five-hole attempt stuffed 2-2
Eric Staal - Leg fake, wristshot over left pad 2-3
Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.