Kotalik's shootout goal helps Sabres stay undefeatedOct 14, 2006 - 2:22 AM DETROIT (Ticker) -- Ales Kotalik and the Buffalo Sabres are off to their best start in 32 years.
Kotalik scored the decisive shootout goal as the Sabres preserved their perfect record with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
With their fourth straight win to open the season, the Sabres are off to their best start since they opened the 1974-75 campaign with eight straight triumphs. It was already Buffalo's third shootout win of the season.
Daniel Briere started the shootout by putting a shot past goaltender Dominik Hasek's left pad before Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk evened things by beating Ryan Miller. The Sabres missed their next two attempts before Kotalik backhanded a shot over Hasek's stick to seal the win.
"It's just a move I've been trying," Kotalik said. "I did it right this time. It was a big two points."
The Sabres' four wins have each been by a one-goal margin, and in this one, they had to fight back from a 2-0 deficit.
"We're a team that's desperate to stay in games," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We came back and got the win. We deserve credit for that, but at the same time, we've got to start better."
Thomas Vanek and Chris Drury scored power-play goals in regulation and Miller made 41 saves as Buffalo joined Minnesota as the only teams with four wins.
"(Miller) made a lot of great saves when we were down and out," Ruff said. "Those saves allowed us to stay in the game and win the game."
Miller, who is from nearby East Lansing, Michigan, wasn't nervous despite facing a six-time Vezina Trophy winner in Hasek.
"It feels great, I'm happy to be back home and see the family real quick," Miller said. "It was in and out and I'll see you for the holidays.
"I don't really do anything to interact with Dominik Hasek. I was just concerned about getting the win and beating the Detroit Red Wings."
Jason Williams tallied twice for in the first period for Detroit. The Red Wings were dismal on the power play, going 0-for-8 with the extra skater, but they did outshoot the Sabres, 43-17, including 31-8 in the first two periods.
"You come into play a real good team and you want to know where you stack up," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't execute on our power play, any way you look at it, you have to execute on the power play. Miller is their best player and he kept them in the game."
Facing the team he starred with from 1992-2001, Hasek stopped 15 shots. The 14-year veteran is 4-1-1 all time against his former team.
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