BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Taylor Pyatt provided a glimmer of hope for
a Buffalo Sabres team searching for a lift heading into the Olympic
Pyatt scored with 1:50 left in regulation, rallying the Sabres
to a 2-2 tie against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
The tie earned the Sabres a crucial point as they were on the
verge of being swept in a home-at-home series against the Devils,
who handily beat Buffalo 4-1 on Sunday.
"It would be an awful bad feeling standing here now if we
didn't get a point tonight," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We'll
take the point and we've got some ground to make up when we get
Maxim Afinogenov also scored while Miroslav Satan, playing his
fourth game in five days, had two assists. The Sabres, 3-1-3 in
their last seven games, moved into a tie for 11th place with
Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference standings.
Jason Arnott, with his fourth goal in two games, and John Madden
scored for New Jersey. The Devils extended their unbeaten streak to
four games (2-0-2), and improved to 4-1-2 since Kevin Constantine
replaced Larry Robinson as coach.
Pyatt's goal was his fifth of the season since being called up
in mid-December, and probably his prettiest one.
Defenseman Jason Woolley set it up by breaking up the left wing,
cutting past Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer, and feeding the
puck into the middle.
Pyatt took the pass off his skate, kicked it to his stick and
snapped a shot that squirted through goaltender Martin Brodeur's
"Jason made a great play there," Pyatt said. "It's a big
point for us."
It was just as big a point for the Devils, who took over sole
possession of seventh place, a point up on the idle New York
"Guys were happy going into the break," Brodeur said. "We
gained some ground and got ourselves into a playoff spot for now."
Brodeur preserved the tie, as Satan had the best scoring chance
in overtime. Leading a 2-on-1 break, Satan fired a 20-footer from
the right circle, which Brodeur gloved.
Along with playing three games in five nights for the Sabres,
Satan also represented his native Slovakia in Saturday's Olympic
preliminary round game in Salt Lake City.
Although disappointed in squandering a late lead, the Devils
were content in how they battled back from a 1-0 deficit.
"We got behind, fought back, got a lead and played a very good
third period. We just had one breakdown near the end and it cost
us," Constantine said. "But I like the way our team came on the
road and competed."
Still smarting from Sunday's flat performance, Ruff's attempt to
toughen up his players worked in the early going.
With their two toughest players -- Rob Ray, the team's all-time
penalty-minutes leader, and Eric Boulton -- in the lineup, the
Sabres came out battling in a first period that featured three
fights and 50 penalty minutes, 27 of them going to New Jersey.
"We wanted to set the tone and not let them dictate play," Ray
said. "It's what we talked about before the game, and it's what we
went out and did."
Two of the fights involved Devils defenseman Colin White, who
was issued a $1,000 fine by the NHL on Monday for his blindside hit
on Buffalo's Vaclav Varada a day earlier.
Ray, given two fighting majors, recorded his 3,047th
penalty minute, passing Chris Nilan for sixth on the all-time list.
... Devils D Ken Daneyko appeared in his 1,191st game with New
Jersey, tying former Sabres star Gilbert Perreault for fifth in
most games played with one team. Daneyko is second among active
players, trailing Detroit's Steve Yzerman (1,359 games). ...
Tuesday marked the 100th regular season meeting between the two
teams. The Sabres lead the series at 57-28-15.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: First Niagara Center Location: Buffalo, New York
Referees: Terry Gregson, Kelly Sutherland Linesmen: Lonnie Cameron, Steve Miller
Attendance: 18,197 (97.4% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Maxim Afinogenov (18)
(Power Play) Assists: Tim Connolly, Miroslav Satan
Jason Arnott (21)
Assists: Scott Niedermayer, Colin White
John Madden (9)
Assist: Brian Rafalski
Taylor Pyatt (5)
Assists: Jason Woolley, Miroslav Satan