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52-24-6
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43-30-9

30 SOG
29 SOG
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game recap

Sabres 6, Avalanche 4

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 2:21 AM

Associated Press

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Sabres 6, Avalanche 4
Buffalo Sabres 6, Colorado Avalanche 4

DENVER (AP) - They were cutting up in the Buffalo locker room, razzing goalie Martin Biron, laughing about a couple missed opportunities and celebrating another win in a string of them that have been coming quite frequently these days.

It was, indeed, a good ending to a night that seemed destined to end much differently for the Sabres. They watched an early three-goal lead slip away Sunday night, but saved things when Derek Roy scored the go-ahead goal with 2:27 left in a 6-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

"It just tells you about the quality of guys we got, and that there is no quit in us," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Roy scored his second goal of the season on a power play, pushing the puck past Peter Budaj moments after Colorado's Antti Laaksonen got called for holding. Jason Pominville centered the puck, and Roy found it on his stick in the middle of a scrum, then beat Budaj to the backhand side.

Former Avs star Chris Drury added an empty-net goal with 3 seconds left to seal Buffalo's ninth win in 11 games.

"This was a good game on our part in the desperate part of the game," Drury said.

Indeed, it was for the Sabres, who took a 4-1 lead and chased Colorado goalie David Aebischer after the first period, only to watch the Avalanche battle back and tie it in the third.

The tying goal came on one of the most exciting plays in hockey - a penalty shot that Marek Svatos slid past Martin Biron with 11:09 left to make it 4-4. Svatos got his first career attempt after Brian Campbell wrestled him down while he was heading unhindered toward the net.

With the Avalanche holding all the momentum, Colorado defenseman John-Michael Liles and forward Dan Hinote each had point-blank chances against Biron (25 saves) over the next few minutes, but Biron stoned them both.

"You wouldn't have had to worry about it if you'd stopped the penalty shot," teammate Mike Grier shouted jokingly from the corner of the locker room while Biron was answering questions.

Biron's nice saves repositioned the momentum again, helping Buffalo take control and get several good looks against Budaj. He finished with 12 saves and the only goal he allowed was to Roy.

"We weren't ready for the first 20 minutes, and when that happens in this league you're going to get beat," Budaj said. "It's a tough break, but it's a lesson for us."

It marked the second straight bad game for Aebischer, who let four of the 16 shots he faced pass. Including a 5-2 loss to Vancouver last week, Aebischer has allowed seven goals his last two periods and change on the ice.

"I'm just not happy with the way I played," Aebischer said.

Of course, it wasn't all the goalie's fault.

Buffalo came out aggressively, picking a pair of fights in the first six minutes, including one triggered when Adam Mair took a run at Hinote along the boards while Hinote was already being engaged by another Buffalo player. Mair drew a two-minute roughing minor to go with the fighting penalty, but the Avs didn't take advantage and the message certainly had been sent.

"That's the style you have to play against that team out here," Roy said. "You have to slow them down, play hard, physical hockey. That is what we did for a period."

It more than paid off.

After Mair's penalty, Buffalo's Jochen Hecht turned a sloppy turnover into a short-handed goal, beating Aebischer even though the goalie had a clear look at the play in front of him and plenty of time to set up.

A few minutes later, Avs defender Rob Blake flailed in an attempt to clear the puck from the front of the net, but missed and left it for Pominville, who made it 3-1.

Colorado's comeback was highlighted by a great play by Milan Hejduk, who skated behind the net, made a blind pass to Joe Sakic, who saw Alex Tanguay for a goal early in the third.

That set things up for Svatos to tie, but the Avs never could take the lead and lost in this, their first game this season against an Eastern Conference opponent.

"We certainly were resilient to get back into the game, but I didn't like the ending," Avs coach Joel Quenneville said.

Notes: Avs D Brad May was scratched with a sore groin. ... The Avs honored Pierre Turgeon before the game for recently scoring his 500th career goal. ... Shortly before Roy's game-winner, Drury had a goal waved off after officials determined he batted it into the net with his hand.

scoring summary
1st Period
02:45
BUF
Paul Gaustad (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Chris Thorburn (1), Jay McKee (3)
1 - 0 BUF
11:46
COL
Karlis Skrastins (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Joe Sakic (16), Milan Hejduk (9)
1 - 1 Tie
14:25
BUF
SHG - Jochen Hecht (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Tim Connolly (14), Henrik Tallinder (4)
2 - 1 BUF
17:05
BUF
Jason Pominville (2) Slapshot - ASST: Tim Connolly (15)
3 - 1 BUF
18:46
BUF
Michael Grier (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Jochen Hecht (7)
4 - 1 BUF
2nd Period
18:00
COL
PPG - Rob Blake (6) Slapshot - ASST: John-Michael Liles (13), Milan Hejduk (10)
4 - 2 BUF
3rd Period
06:49
COL
Alex Tanguay (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Joe Sakic (17), Milan Hejduk (11)
4 - 3 BUF
08:51
COL
PS - Marek Svatos (13) Backhand shot - ASST: NONE
4 - 4 Tie
17:33
BUF
PPG - Derek Roy (2) Backhand shot - ASST: Jason Pominville (3), Thomas Vanek (14)
5 - 4 BUF
19:56
BUF
EN - Chris Drury (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Teppo Numminen (18)
6 - 4 BUF
penalty summary
1st Period
02:47
BUF
Chris Thorburn  Fighting (maj) against  Cody McCormick
02:47
COL
Cody McCormick  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Thorburn
06:07
BUF
Adam Mair  Roughing against  Dan Hinote
06:07
BUF
Adam Mair  Fighting (maj) against  Dan Hinote
06:07
COL
Dan Hinote  Fighting (maj) against  Adam Mair
13:32
BUF
Toni Lydman  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
2nd Period
06:21
BUF
Ales Kotalik  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
07:16
COL
Marek Svatos  Hi-sticking against  Chris Drury
14:16
BUF
Maxim Afinogenov  Tripping against  Brett Clark
17:45
BUF
Brian Campbell  Hooking against  Alex Tanguay
3rd Period
11:47
BUF
Chris Drury  Holding against  Brett Clark
17:13
COL
Antti Laaksonen  Hooking against  Tim Connolly
goalie stats
Martin Biron
SA: 29TOI: 59:57
Saves: 25EV: 24 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 2
SV%: .862SH: 0 - 0
David Aebischer
David Aebischer
SA: 16TOI: 20:00
Saves: 12EV: 10 - 13
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: .750SH: 2 - 3
Peter Budaj
Peter Budaj
SA: 13TOI: 39:01
Saves: 12EV: 8 - 8
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 3
SV%: .923SH: 2 - 2