Another Nail Biter
Saturday, 10.07.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
October 7, 2006
By Brian Wheeler
For the first time this season, the Buffalo Sabres didn't need a shootout to decide one of their games. But the team nearly needed overtime had it not been for a stellar performance by Martin Biron and a late goal by Jason Pominville.
Holding a 3-1 lead with five minutes remaining in regulation, Buffalo withstood a blitzkrieg by the Senators to take a 4-3 victory at the Scotiabank Place on Saturday night.
"It would be nice to run away with a game, but I don't think this league is about a team dominating the other teams," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "We got off to a good start, they had a good second period and the third was kept pretty close."
Including Game 5 of the 2006 Playoffs, Pominville has scored the last two game-winning goals for Buffalo against the Senators. The second-year professional stuffed Daniel Briere's pass just inside the left post at 16:36 for Buffalo's fourth goal of the game and his second goal in as many nights.
Biron recorded his first victory since the final game of the 2005-06 regular season with 34 saves. The netminder, who went undefeated during the preseason, figured he would see action in Ottawa with the team playing three games in four nights.
"You're not going to see a goalie play 70 games in a season, except for maybe [Martin] Brodeur," said Biron. "You just won't see that because you can't afford to have a goalie tired."
Ruff had Biron tentatively scheduled to make the start at the beginning of the week, but with two emotional shootout wins against Carolina and Montreal, he cemented the plan with the increased strain on Ryan Miller.
"We didn't want to keep [Biron] waiting too long," said Ruff of starting the goalie. "He played very well and in my eyes he was the first star of the game."
A pair of Buffalo's blueliners opened the scoring for the Sabres.
Just 33 seconds after the opening puck drop, Henrik Tallinder moved in from the blueline and one timed Paul Gaustad's across-ice pass into a wide-open net for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 Sabres lead.
Brian Campbell ended Buffalo's power-play drought at 0/17 with a one timer from the left wing at 19:06.
"Setup wise [on the power play], we did a really good job," said Ruff. "Those are going to start going in for us."
Ottawa converted a turnover into a two-on-one rush where Denis Hamel found Dean McAmmond to cut the Sabres lead to a goal at 11:37 of the second.
Chris Drury opened the final period of regulation with a laser slapshot from just inside the left face-off circle the beat Martin Gerber on his stick side at the 2:59 mark. The tally not only increased the Sabres lead to two goals but energized the team as well.
"That was an important goal, especially at that time in the game," said Ruff. "We had been killing penalties, they had a lot of momentum, and for him to bury that one, it picked us up a little bit."
Jason Spezza twice cut the Sabres lead to a goal by redirecting shots by Dany Heatley at 15:22 and Daniel Alfredsson at 16:46.
Pominville scored the game winner 46 seconds after Spezza first of the night.
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Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.