Kotalik, Stafford help Sabres stave off Islanders

BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) — The New York Islanders rallied
late to salvage a point, but it was the Buffalo Sabres who ended
a losing skid.

Ales Kotalik and Drew Stafford each scored in the shootout and
Ryan Miller stopped both attempts in the bonus format, helping
Buffalo earn a 4-3 win over New York on Saturday.

Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville each had power-play goals and
Clarke MacArthur also scored his career-high 10th goal for
Buffalo, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

It appeared the Sabres would cruise to their first win since a
5-0 triumph over the Kings on December 19, but the Islanders –
who held a 12-5 advantage in shots in the final period rallied
with a pair of goals in the final 94 seconds of regulation.

“A couple times one of the defense fell, the puck got by
(Pominville) to a guy in the slot, he had no one in front of
him, just Miller, he just buried it,” Hecht said. “You can
battle, shoot the puck out, just have to be more desperate.”

After Mike Comrie scored on the power play to halve the deficit,
Chris Campoli’s goal with just two seconds remaining in the
third period tied the game. Rookie Kyle Okposo picked up a
loose puck and fed a pass to Campoli, who ripped a shot to the
glove side of Miller to knot the score, 3-3.

“I was happy with everything except for about the last couple
minutes of the game,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

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Miller, who finished with 32 saves, made pad saves on the
shootout attempts of Richard Park and Okposo to preserve the

“Everybody wants to win, but it’s a step in the right
direction,” Comrie said. “We had a pretty rough December, went
through some injuries but tonight was an effort. The last
couple games we’ve showed if we played the right way, we can be

Hecht scored the lone goal of the opening period 13:01 into the

Jeff Tambellini tied the score midway through the second, but
Pominville tallied 3:31 later to put the Sabres back in front.

“I think our penalty kill has been good throughout the year,
unfortunately we gave up one late,” Pominville said. “We’ll
take the positives out of this one. We need the two points, we
got it so we’ll move on.”

Joey MacDonald, who got the start in place of Rick DiPietro,
made 34 saves. DiPietro returned to action Friday after missing
two months but suffered a strained groin in the contest.

“We were down a couple goals in the third and we battled to the
bitter end,” MacDonald said. “It took us 60 minutes to get that
one point. We never give up, down 3-1 we could of packed our
bags and we didn’t, maybe a couple weeks ago we might of. It’s
a huge step for us, huge win last night and big point tonight.”