Sun, May 07, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Sabres rattle the Senators in Game 1

NHL SEMIFINALS Buffalo broke a tie with under 11 seconds remaining in the game to beat Ottawa in the first of their best-of-seven conference series


Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller makes a save during the third period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Senators in Ottawa, Canada, on Friday. Buffalo defeated Ottawa 7-6 in overtime.


Chris Drury figured it wouldn't take long to settle this shootout.

Drury scored 18 seconds into overtime after Tim Connolly netted his second goal of the night with 10.7 seconds remaining in regulation and the Buffalo Sabres stunned the Ottawa Senators with a 7-6 victory on Friday in a wild Eastern Conference semifinal opener.

"Down the stretch, it was pretty amazing how many goals were scored," Drury said. "Sitting in the locker room you had the feeling it was going to be a quick end."

The teams scored three goals in the final 1:37 of regulation as Buffalo's Derek Roy tied it at 5 with a short-handed effort for his second goal of the game -- his team-record tying fifth point -- at 18:23. But Bryan Smolinski scored his second 24 seconds later during the same power play to give Ottawa its fifth straight lead, 6-5.

"It wasn't your typical playoff game," Roy said.

The Sabres pressed for one more, and Connolly got it as he swept a puck that lay within Ray Emery's reach up and over the rookie goalie to shock the sellout crowd.

"We weren't going to give up," Connolly said. "We came back a few times during the hockey game and we've been able to come back all year long and we're never going to give up until the game's over, and I think that's a credit to this hockey team."

Buffalo has been scoring goals in bunches. The Sabres beat Philadelphia 7-1 to clinch the first-round series in which they also had an 8-2 victory.

The winning goal was truly sudden as Drury beat Emery with a shot from the left circle.

"We couldn't play worse and we still had a chance to win it," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "I'm disappointed. We were so sloppy with the puck."

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series won't be until tomorrow because the arena is unavailable over the weekend.

Five of the game's 13 goals were scored within the first or last minute of a period, including Mike Grier's opener just 35 seconds in which put Buffalo up 1-0. That was the Sabres' only lead until they won.

Mike Fisher set a Senators record for the fastest playoff goal from the start of a period when he scored 16 seconds into the third to make it 5-4. Jason Spezza and Bryan Smolinski scored 15 seconds apart early in the second, setting a Senators record for fastest two playoff goals.

"It's disappointing," Fisher said. "We played well throughout parts of the game, carried the play, forechecked well, skated and did some good things, but we just gave them too many chances offensively, odd-man rushes and some bad decisions defensively.

"You can't be doing if you want to beat this team. They're skilled, they're offensive and they thrive on odd-man rushes and counterattacks."

Martin Havlat and Dany Heatley each had a goal and an assist for Ottawa, which led the NHL with 314 goals this season.

Teppo Numminen also scored for the Sabres.

Fisher, still wearing a wire face shield to protect an injury sustained in Ottawa's first-round win over Tampa Bay, got a rebound of Wade Redden's point shot that struck Buffalo defenseman Toni Lydman and put a shot past Miller into the left side.

The Sabres scored twice in the second despite being held to four shots in the period.

Roy, who also assisted on Numminen's power-play goal in the first, scored his second goal of the playoffs with 30 seconds left in the frame to tie it at 4.

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