Series (Game 3 of 4)

Buffalo leads 2-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 17th
Game 2: Friday, December 6th
Game 3: Saturday, February 15th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 19th

Rangers 4

(23-29-2, 55 pts)

Sabres 5

(16-29-4, 43 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 15, 2003

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 T
NYR 1 2 14
BUF 3 1 15

M. Biron (Sabres - G): Saves: 48, Save Pct.: .923

M. Satan (Sabres - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

C. Gratton (Sabres - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Sabres give up 52 shots, but still win

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- After losing eight consecutive games, Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff doesn't care that the Sabres gave up 52 shots. He's just happy they won.

Curtis Brown scored a short-handed goal 1:29 into the third period and Martin Biron made 48 saves as the Sabres beat the New York Rangers 5-4 Saturday night.

''If you win, I'll take it,'' Ruff said. ''I thought that was awesome because we've outshot teams 44-21 and lost games. We were due for one of those games.''

Miroslav Satan scored on a penalty shot, and Chris Gratton, Adam Mair and Rory Fitzpatrick -- with his first NHL regular-season goal -- also scored for Buffalo, which won for the first time since beating Toronto 4-0 on Jan. 24.

Biron said even though he faced a career high in shots and a season-high 22 in the second period, the stops gave him confidence.

''They kept shooting them a little bit from anywhere (making it) open for rebounds, open for redirections,'' he said. ''As a goalie, these are shots (that) get you in the groove and they get you going. If you can handle them the way you want them then it feels great.''

Darius Kasparaitis, Petr Nedved, Vladimir Malakhov and Matthew Barnaby scored for the Rangers, who had their two-game winning streak snapped.

''We've had some temporary success,'' Rangers forward Bobby Holik said. ''We started to think that we're better than we are. It took us 20 minutes to realize we're not.''

Brown's 10th goal made it 5-3 when he came in on a two-on-one, kept the puck, and backhanded it past backup goalie Dan Blackburn.

''They made a lot of big mistakes,'' Ruff said. ''We knew defensively we could score some goals against them.''

New York's lack of effort upset Rangers coach-general manager Glen Sather, who took over behind the bench just before the All-Star break.

''They mystified me as much (as GM) as they have down here,'' he said.

Rangers forward Eric Lindros -- who had his first point in four games -- drew Sather's wrath.

''We've put him on different lines and in different positions,'' he said. ''He's struggling. Maybe I'll move him into the crowd if he doesn't start playing better. We have to get some results out of him.''

Barnaby scored his 12th goal 10:40 into the third to make it 5-4.

Satan, pulled down by Malakhov on a breakaway while the Sabres were short-handed, made it 4-1 at 1:15 of the second when he beat Mike Dunham on a penalty shot for his team-leading 19th goal. Satan is 2-for-5 on penalty shots.

Dunham, who stopped Nashville's Rem Murray on a penalty shot on Jan. 23, made six saves on 10 shots and was replaced after the goal by Blackburn.

Nedved scored his 21st goal to make it 4-2 at 8:00 of the second when he put a trickling puck past Biron. Malakhov redeemed himself when he pinched in, took a pass from Radek Dvorak and fired it past Biron later in the period.

Biron said the Sabres got confused for a stretch.

''We were able to give them a little bit of a free wheeling,'' he said.

Game notes

Malakhov played after missing two games with back spasms. ... Buffalo defenseman Jay McKee sprained his left knee and will miss four to six weeks. Ruff said the Sabres -- without three of their top six defensemen -- plan to recall Radoslav Hecl from Rochester of the AHL. ... Buffalo radio personality Mike Schopp tried to organize a fan walkout during the second period to make a statement Sabres fans are still loyal, but the NHL needs to fix its economic structure. Not many fans in the crowd of 18,165 appeared to leave.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press