for this game

Sabres edge Senators, extend conference finals

May 17, 2007 - 4:03 AM
OTTAWA (Ticker) -- Chris Drury and Ryan Miller kept the Buffalo Sabres off the golf course for at least a few more days.

Drury scored the 15th playoff game-winning goal of his career and Miller made 31 saves as the Sabres staved off elimination with a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game Four of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

Derek Roy had a goal and an assist and Drury also set up a tally for Buffalo, which hopes to continue a monumental comeback when it hosts Game Five on Saturday.

"We put ourselves in a situation where I don't think they'll want to go back and get in a Game Six situation," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "They're going to probably go after it as good as they can go after it in our building. We've got to try to play as good as we can knowing that we've lost two there to them."

"We're happy to be going back home, but we know we have to play one period at a time," said Sabres right wing Jason Pominville, who recorded an assist. "We're up to the challenge. We haven't talked about the possibility of coming back (to Ottawa for Game Six), but if we do, it's something we'll be talking about for a long time."

After dropping a 1-0 decision on Monday in which it recorded just 15 shots on goal, Buffalo faced the undaunting task of becoming the fourth team in North American professional sports history to recover from a three-games-to-none deficit and win a best-of-seven series. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2004 Boston Red Sox have accomplished the feat in 258 previous instances.

The NBA's Chicago Bulls, who have won their last two games, also are attempting to overcome a 3-0 series deficit in this year's Eastern Conference semifinals.

"It's going to be tough," Miller said. "It's going to be a battle. But I like the direction we went tonight, where we had to earn everything we got."

With the possible end of their season just 60 minutes away, the Sabres got off to a quick start thanks to a turnover after the opening faceoff. In his own zone, Ottawa defenseman Andrej Meszaros had an attempted pass carom off the skate of Roy. Drury kept in the puck at the blue line and dished down low to Roy, who redirected it past goaltender Ray Emery from the right side of the crease nine seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.

"It's always huge when you get the first goal in," Roy said. "Drury picked up the puck and made a good pass. I was able to get a good redirection. It obviously got everybody going."

"Our start in the last game here wasn't too good," Drury added. "So getting one in, it settled us down more and also gave us a lot of energy."

Ruff admitted the goal came on a break his team desperately needed.

"Sometimes you've got to get some breaks, and I thought we got an early break," he said. "I think getting the break is one thing, but Derek's deflection was a (heck) of a deflection. It's one thing to get the opportunity and another thing to finish it."

The Senators had several chances to draw even later in the first period, but defenseman Joe Corvo hit the goalpost at 7:18 and Mike Comrie fired the puck off the crossbar with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.

"We hit posts, we hit crossbars, we missed open nets, we generated a lot of chances," Ottawa's Jason Spezza said. "We just have to find a way to get the puck in."

The Sabres expanded their advantage in the middle session, striking twice in a 3:34 span in the first half of the period for a 3-0 bulge.

"Our offense came from playing better defense, and that's something we really try to pay attention to, and it paid off," Buffalo's Jochen Hecht said. "We just have to do the same thing at home now and pay attention to the defense. From that, the offense will come."

Scoreless on its first 18 power-play opportunities of the series, Buffalo cashed in during a 5-on-3 advantage at 4:32. From below the left faceoff circle, co-captain Daniel Briere passed across the crease to Maxim Afinogenov, who buried the puck from near the right post for his fourth goal of the postseason.

Drury extended the cushion at 8:06 with a soft tally, unleashing a shot from the right circle that hit Emery in the chest and found its way into the net. It was Drury's eighth goal of this playoffs, three of which have been game-winners, and 43rd of his postseason career.

"(Drury) stepped up," Ruff said. "Emery probably looks at it as a goal that he wants back, but it's still a goal that went in."

With the Senators' hopes of completing their first postseason sweep quickly vanishing, they stormed back late in the period to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

Meszaros blasted a shot from the right point that was blocked, but the puck went directly to Dean McAmmond, who ripped it past Miller with 5:05 to go, getting Ottawa on the scoreboard.

"I had just got out of the penalty box," McAmmond said. "(Chris) Kelly go the puck in the slot and I tried to get it from him right there, but then I kept backing off. (It came to me) and I just shot it right away. I think I kind of fooled Miller on it."

Just 1:46 later, Comrie's backhand pass from behind the net glanced off the stick of Buffalo defenseman Brian Campbell and right to Peter Schaefer, who banged the puck by Miller for his first tally this postseason.

"We were on the forecheck and I went back with Campbell and poked the puck behind the net to Comrie," Schaefer said. "He made a cycle play and it hit the net. Then the puck came back to me and I went stick side, where the pass came from. Not very exciting."

"We had a little flurry, but when you give (them) a three-goal lead, it becomes very difficult," Senators coach Bryan Murray said.

The Sabres, who matched their shots total from Game Three after just two periods in this one, nearly made it 4-2 early in the third. But Ales Kotalik's shot from the left circle rang off the right post with just 3:48 gone by.

Ottawa, which had its six-game playoff winning streak snapped and fell to 5-2 at home, had several opportunities to knot the contest later in the period but could not convert a pair of power-play chances. Miller, who made 15 of his saves in the session, was instrumental in keeping the Senators off the board, making a number of big stops - including a sensational glove save on Corvo with 12:41 remaining.

"They were trying their hardest to give it to us," Corvo said. "Their goalie decided he didn't want to let anything by him. ... We had our chances, but their goalie came up being tight. I mean tight defensively."

"There were a lot of shots that hit him," Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden added. "A few times, we missed the net. We have to work on that."

With the win, the Sabres improved to 12-1 all-time against the Senators in the playoffs when scoring first and avoided being swept for the first time since the 1993 Adams Division finals against the Montreal Canadiens.

"It just wasn't meant to be tonight," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We'll move on. We would have loved to end the series tonight, but that's just the way it is."

Emery turned aside 19 shots for Ottawa, which fell to 3-32 when trailing after two periods in the postseason.

Of the last 13 playoff games between the Northeast Division rivals, 11 have been decided by one goal.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 2 0 3
    OTTAWA 0 2 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 2 (CHRIS DRURY) 0:09
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) MAXIM AFINOGENOV 4 (DANIEL BRIERE, JASON
    POMINVILLE) 4:32
    BUF - CHRIS DRURY 8 (TIM CONNOLLY, DEREK ROY) 8:06
    OTT - DEAN MCAMMOND 4 (ANDREJ MESZAROS,

    May 16 9:42 PM
  • 17
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 17 roots

    Sabres vs. SenatorsMay 16 9:36 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 2 3
    OTTAWA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 2 (CHRIS DRURY) 0:09
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) MAXIM AFINOGENOV 4 (DANIEL BRIERE, JASON
    POMINVILLE) 4:32
    BUF - CHRIS DRURY 8 (TIM CONNOLLY, DEREK ROY) 8:06
    OTT - DEAN MCAMMOND 4 (AND

    May 16 8:43 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL BUFFALO 3
    OTTAWA 2
    2ND PRD: OTT - PETER SCHAEFER 1 (MIKE COMRIE, JOE CORVO) 16:41

    Sabres vs. SenatorsMay 16 8:38 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL BUFFALO 3
    OTTAWA 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - DEAN MCAMMOND 4 (ANDREJ MESZAROS, CHRIS KELLY) 14:55

    Sabres vs. SenatorsMay 16 8:36 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL BUFFALO 3
    OTTAWA 0
    2ND PRD: BUF - CHRIS DRURY 8 (TIM CONNOLLY, DEREK ROY) 8:06

    Sabres vs. SenatorsMay 16 8:22 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL BUFFALO 2
    OTTAWA 0
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) MAXIM AFINOGENOV 4 (DANIEL BRIERE, JASON
    POMINVILLE) 4:32 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Sabres vs. SenatorsMay 16 8:14 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1
    OTTAWA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 2 (CHRIS DRURY) 0:09
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 5 5
    OTT 9 9
    GOALIES: BUF - RYAN MILLER
    OTT - RAY EME

    May 16 7:48 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL BUFFALO 1
    OTTAWA 0
    1ST PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 2 (CHRIS DRURY) 0:09

    Sabres vs. SenatorsMay 16 7:13 PM