Sabres Defeat Rangers in Overtime


Monday, November 27th 2006, 6:03 am
By: News On 6


NEW YORK (AP) _ Chris Drury would've been OK if the Buffalo Sabres left Madison Square Garden with only one point. With a quick flick of his stick, the co-captain and his teammates didn't have to settle.

``On the road, finishing a very difficult 10-game stretch, if we did get one we probably would've been able to live with it,'' Drury said. ``But two is definitely better.''

After the Sabres squandered a two-goal lead late in regulation, Drury deflected in Teppo Numminen's shot 1:36 into overtime and Buffalo rebounded from a rare loss with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday night.

Drury won a faceoff back to Numminen, who ripped a drive that Drury knocked past goalie Henrik Lundqvist. After Buffalo's 2-1 overtime loss to Montreal at home on Friday, Drury prevented the team's first losing streak of the season _ recalling the words of coach Lindy Ruff.

``Lindy kind of set that motto last year: 'Never lose two in a row,''' Drury said. ``Our goal is never to do that, always bounce back after a loss. I'm glad we did that.''

Buffalo is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games.

Elsewhere in the NHL, Tampa Bay beat Ottawa 3-1, and Anaheim topped Calgary 5-3.

Thomas Vanek posted a goal and an assist in fewer than 2 1/2 minutes of the second period, and Buffalo overcame two goals by Martin Straka to beat the Rangers for the third time. The Sabres won both trips to Manhattan this season in overtime.

Straka tied it with 4:53 left in the third period and nearly provided a late lift to the Rangers for the second straight night. He has four goals and three assists in a four-game point streak, and won Saturday's game in Pittsburgh by scoring with only 2.2 seconds remaining in overtime.

``I thought we had the momentum, but when we scored the goal we stopped playing,'' Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr said. ``We are not a good team yet. When the good teams get the momentum, they go for it.''

Ryan Miller was sharp in making 25 saves for the Sabres, who improved to 11-1 on the road.

Vanek set up Maxim Afinogenov's goal at 11:59 of the second period and then scored at 14:11 for the Sabres (19-3-2), tied with Anaheim for the NHL lead at 40 points. Buffalo had its NHL-record 10-game road winning streak to start the season snapped at Ottawa on Nov. 18 before a 2-0-1 homestand.

The Rangers had a season-high three-game winning streak broken and fell to 5-4-2 at home _ including two losses in three weeks to Buffalo.

``We showed a lot of character to come back against a team like this,'' Straka said.

Lundqvist sparkled during an extended 5-on-3 disadvantage behind a team of tired penalty killers in the second period. He stopped Daniel Briere with his right pad from in front after a smooth setup from Drury. Lundqvist then turned away that duo again about 90 seconds later, blocking Drury's shot and a rebound try by Briere.

``It was probably one of our better 5-on-3s,'' Drury said. ``We had some unbelievable point-blank chances. Sometimes the goalie is going to make great saves and Lundqvist was certainly doing that.''

But New York's good fortune ran out shortly after when Buffalo's potent power play clicked twice within 2:12. Only Afinogenov's 12th of the season was officially a man-advantage goal, but Vanek's came just 2 seconds after Marek Malik served his hooking call.

As the Sabres celebrated on the ice, Rangers coach Tom Renney leaned over on the bench to talk to Jagr.

Whatever the message was, it worked.

On his next shift, Jagr slid a long pass all the way across the goal line to Straka, who cut New York's deficit to 2-1 just 20 seconds after Vanek's goal.

Miller made his best save in protecting that lead with under 2 minutes left in the period when he stopped Adam Hall by placing his stick flat on the ice and blocking the puck just before it could cross the line.

``I felt it slip so I just was just kind of getting it down there as quick as possible just in case it did,'' Miller said. ``I figured if I still had it, it wouldn't hurt to lay down a bit.''

Lightning 3, Senators 1

Filip Kuba and Brad Richards scored 36 seconds apart midway through the second period, helping the host Lightning beat Ottawa.

Johan Holmqvist made 22 saves for the Lightning, who have won three straight and seven of 10. Tampa Bay also got a power-play goal from Martin St. Louis with 1:18 left.

Jason Spezza scored for the Senators, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

The Lightning had lost eight straight regular-season games to Ottawa, dating to March 1, 2003.

Ducks 5, Flames 3

At Anaheim, Calif., Teemu Selanne scored twice and Anaheim made things relatively easy for goalie Michael Wall in his NHL debut, limiting Calgary to 11 shots over the first two periods.

Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf had power-play goals and Samuel Pahlsson also scored for the Ducks, who are off to the best start in franchise history at 17-2-6.

Kristian Huselius had two goals and Daymond Langkow scored a power-play goal in the final minute for the Flames.