Series (Game 4 of 4)

Winnipeg leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 9th
Game 2: Monday, February 17th
Game 3: Saturday, March 15th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 2nd

Jets 3

(29-39-5, 70 pts)

Sabres 4

(27-36-8, 71 pts)

7:00 PM ET, April 2, 2003

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 T
WPG 2 1 03
BUF 0 0 44

T. Connolly (Sabres - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

D. Briere (Sabres - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

A. Kotalik (Sabres - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Sabres storm back with four third-period goals

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Sabres came back from a three-goal deficit and gained some confidence for next season.



Daniel Briere and Tim Connolly scored power-play goals in the final 1:59 and the Sabres rallied to a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday night.

"It was pretty exciting,'' said Connolly, who tipped in the winning goal with 53.7 seconds to play. "It shows us for future reference that when we do get down, we can come back and win.''

The Sabres won for the first time after being down by three goals since Oct. 17, 1998, at Montreal. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time Buffalo came back after trailing by three in the final period was Jan. 23, 1992, at Pittsburgh.

"At the moment, this win ranks right up there,'' said coach Lindy Ruff, who was honored in a pregame ceremony for becoming the winningest coach in team history.

Dmitri Kalinin and Ales Kotalik also scored third-period goals, while Mika Noronen made 20 saves for Buffalo, winners of five of its last six.

"Sometimes you get that tying goal, and you think we've done our job,'' said Briere, who banged in a rebound to tie it 3-3. "The next line came out and kept it going. Guys paid the price for a big goal.''

Pasi Nurminen made 36 saves for Atlanta, which failed in its bid for a club-record five-game unbeaten streak. Lubos Bartecko, Yannick Tremblay, and Dany Heatley scored for the Thrashers, and Marc Savard and Slava Kozlov each had two assists.

"That game should have been ours,'' said Heatley, who gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead in the second period.

"It can't happen like that,'' Nurminen said. "We stood back a little too much. I think we're learning every game more and more.''

Bartecko and Tremblay scored 23 seconds apart in the first period, giving Atlanta a 2-0 lead.

Bartecko scored at the 10:49 mark, corralling a loose puck directed to him by Kamil Piros. Tremblay scored on a wrist shot from the slot after taking a drop pass from Marc Savard. With the assist, Savard extended his point streak to seven games.

Tremblay, who scored in overtime against the New York Rangers on Monday night, has goals in consecutive games for the second time in his seven-year career.

Heatley made it 3-0 with a power-play goal on a rising slap shot from just above the right circle.

Kalinin spoiled Nurminen's shutout bid with his seventh goal 6:43 into the third period, and Kotalik scored his 20th with 6:54 remaining.

Game notes

Sabres players presented Ruff with a Rolex watch in the pregame ceremony. Ruff broke Scotty Bowman's mark of 210 wins on March 18 against Philadelphia. Bowman was part of the ceremony, as were Ruff's parents, Shirley and Leeson, from Warburg, Alberta. Ruff was given a custom portrait and a 65-inch TV from the club during the morning skate. ... Sabres D Rhett Warrener returned to the lineup after missing two games while being observed for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). His roommate, Brian Campbell, remains under observation. ... Each team had a player making his NHL debut, Atlanta with D Joe DiPenta and Buffalo with RW Milan Bartovic.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press