for this game

DiPietro returns, Islanders edge Sabres to even series

Apr 15, 2007 - 4:05 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- After giving the New York Islanders an emotional lift early with his presence, Rick DiPietro helped give them a victory with his performance.

DiPietro made 32 saves in his return from a concussion and defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron snapped a tie 8 1/2 minutes into the third period as the Islanders evened their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at one game apiece with a 3-2 triumph over the heavily favored Buffalo Sabres.

Trent Hunter and blue-liner Bruno Gervais also scored and defenseman Tom Poti added two assists for New York, which hosts Game Three on Monday.

The first goaltender in NHL history to be drafted first overall in 2000, DiPietro suffered a pair of mild concussions in mid-March, forcing him to miss the last seven games of the regular season and the postseason opener. But he was cleared to play by team doctors on Thursday and practiced with the team the following day before being given the starting nod for Game Two by coach Ted Nolan.

"You take any No. 1 goaltender from a team in this league, it's a big loss," Nolan said. "To have Ricky back in the lineup, it just makes one big difference."

The 25-year-old DiPietro did not disappoint, especially in the second period, when he turned aside all 14 shots he faced. Following Bergeron's tally, the netminder slammed the door, denying each of Buffalo's final six shots.

"I felt good," DiPietro said. "I'm not going to sit here and lie to you, everyone has nerves. If you don't, you've got to have something wrong. I'm sure Tiger Woods gets nervous once in a while. It's a natural thing. I think it gives you that edge a little bit."

"Rick DiPietro was good for them," Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere said. "It's not too often where we faced a goalie where he kind of stole the game. He made some big saves."

Thoroughly outplayed in Game One, the Islanders undoubtedly were inspired by DiPietro's return. After recording just one shot on goal in the first period Thursday, New York fired 16 at Ryan Miller in the opening 20 minutes of this one.

"Ryan Miller is an unbelievable goalie, but you can't score if you don't shoot the puck," New York's Jason Blake said. "We just wanted to get in front of him, make it a little tough on him tonight vs. last game."

"I don't think we were moving our feet," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "They were better on the forecheck. (There were) about three minutes left in the first period before we started to play."

The improved play paid off as Hunter scored just over three minutes into the game and Gervais tallied with less than nine minutes remaining for a 2-0 lead. However, the Presidents' Trophy-winning Sabres battled back, knotting the contest on goals by Toni Lydman late in the first and fellow defenseman Dmitri Kalinin 2:12 into the third.

But with Maxim Afinogenov in the penalty box for hooking, the Islanders cashed in to move back ahead. From the left point, Poti made a cross-ice pass to Bergeron, who one-timed the puck past Miller at 8:37 for his third career playoff tally and a 3-2 advantage.

"We haven't been doing so good on the power play this series. It's huge," said Bergeron, who went to the Stanley Cup Finals with Edmonton last year. "Our power play helped us to make the playoffs. It's been struggling in the first two games, but we came up big with that goal."

Hunter beat Miller at 3:07 of the first period, deflecting Mike Sillinger's shot from the top of the left faceoff circle into the net for his second career postseason goal. Gervais doubled the advantage at 11:03, when he fired a wrister past the netminder from above the slot after former Sabre Miroslav Satan won a faceoff in the left circle.

"I saw (teammate Richard Zednik) go to the net," Gervais said. "All I did was grab the puck. I tried to wrist it and put it on net. Good things happen when you put it on net."

"My bad," said Miller, who finished with 29 saves. "I took a step out, was waiting to get a read. He shot as two guys came to the net."

DiPietro kept Buffalo off the board with a brilliant save on Thomas Vanek with 6:14 remaining, knocking away the shot while lying on the ice.

"It was a confidence builder, absolutely," DiPietro said. "He's an extremely skilled player. He made a good move. I was lucky to get my glove on it."

"We fully anticipated him playing well," Ruff said. "He's a good goaltender. He had himself on a tremendous roll. We said getting him back is a big plus for that team. By no means is it going to be easy."

Miller denied Sillinger on a shorthanded breakaway with just over two minutes left to keep the Sabres' deficit at two. Lydman halved it to one with 62 seconds to go in the session, putting a shot from the top of the slot past a screened DiPietro for the second goal of his playoff career.

After a scoreless second period, Kalinin forged a 2-2 tie early in the third. DiPietro made a pair of saves on Jochen Hecht and Briere, but Kalinin buried Buffalo's third chance during a scramble in front for his first postseason tally.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 2 0 1 3
    BUFFALO 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - TRENT HUNTER 1 (MIKE SILLINGER, TOM POTI) 3:07
    NYI - BRUNO GERVAIS 1 (MIROSLAV SATAN) 12:03
    BUF - TONI LYDMAN 1 (THOMAS VANEK, MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 18:58
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: BUF - DMITRI KALININ 1 (JA

    Apr 14 10:03 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Islanders vs. SabresApr 14 9:58 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY ISLANDERS 3
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: NYI - (PP) MARC-ANDRE BERGERON 1 (TOM POTI, VIKTOR KOZLOV)
    8:37

    Islanders vs. SabresApr 14 9:44 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY ISLANDERS 2
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: BUF - DMITRI KALININ 1 (JASON POMINVILLE, DANIEL BRIERE) 2:12

    Islanders vs. SabresApr 14 9:33 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 2 0 2
    BUFFALO 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - TRENT HUNTER 1 (MIKE SILLINGER, TOM POTI) 3:07
    NYI - BRUNO GERVAIS 1 (MIROSLAV SATAN) 12:03
    BUF - TONI LYDMAN 1 (THOMAS VANEK, MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 18:58
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Apr 14 9:11 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 2 2
    BUFFALO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYI - TRENT HUNTER 1 (MIKE SILLINGER, TOM POTI) 3:07
    NYI - BRUNO GERVAIS 1 (MIROSLAV SATAN) 12:03
    BUF - TONI LYDMAN 1 (THOMAS VANEK, MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 18:58
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD

    Apr 14 8:19 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY ISLANDERS 2
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - TONI LYDMAN 1 (THOMAS VANEK, MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 18:58

    Islanders vs. SabresApr 14 8:18 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PLAYOFFS
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    BUFFALO 0 7:35 LEFT, 1ST PRD

    Islanders vs. SabresApr 14 8:05 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY ISLANDERS 1
    BUFFALO 0
    1ST PRD: NYI - TRENT HUNTER 1 (MIKE SILLINGER, TOM POTI) 3:07

    Islanders vs. SabresApr 14 7:49 PM