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Late heroics help Sabres keep Sharks slumping

BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Derek Roy ultimately made the

Buffalo Sabres' roller-coaster ride a successful one.

Roy scored the decisive goal in the fifth round of the shootout

after Jason Pominville tied the contest in the waning seconds of

regulation as the Sabres rallied for a 6-5 victory over the San

Jose Sharks on Friday.

Buffalo, which squandered a pair of three-goal leads, trailed,

5-4, when Pominville knotted it with 3.9 seconds remaining,

tipping in a shot from the point by captain Craig Rivet.

"The sweetest feeling is getting the two points," said Rivet,

who notched a career-high three assists. "Right now, the

(playoff) race is so tight that personal things are not

important for the team to move forward. We had a huge win."

Following a scoreless overtime, neither side was able to gain

the edge over the first three rounds of the shootout. After

Pominville and Sharks captain Patrick Marleau each tallied in

the fourth, Roy skated in and made a move to the backhand,

lifting the puck over the outstretched glove of goaltender

Evgeni Nabokov to give Buffalo the lead.

Ryan Miller followed with a glove save on Milan Michalek's

backhand attempt, clinching the win for the Sabres.

"It was big for us," Miller said. "It's not going to be a fairy

tale every night, where you get a lead and hold it. There will

be nights like this, where you have to battle and scrape and

come up with some heroics."

The win also capped an emotional 24-hour period in the

community.

Prior to the game, the crowd at HSBC Arena observed a moment of

silence for the victims of Thursday's plane crash in Clarence,

New York - 10 miles short of its destination of Buffalo Niagara

International Airport.

Many of the players live in the vicinity of the disaster, and

the Sabres briefly considered postponing the contest.

"Obviously, it's been a real tough day for all of Buffalo,"

Rivet said. "Tonight, I'm proud of our guys. We played the

best team in the league and we battled them right to the end.

We got a big victory, not only for our club but for all of

Buffalo and the people that are going to be going through some

very tough times in the next little while.

"If we could somehow ease some of the pain, I hope it'll help."

Marleau scored twice and All-Star Joe Thornton dished out four

assists for the Sharks, who fell to 1-1-4 in their last six

games and 1-0-3 on their five-game road trip.

"We've lost a number of shootouts," Sharks coach Todd McLellan

said. "It's a concern. We work on it, but probably not to the

extent that we need to. It might be something we need to

address as the season goes on."

Buffalo dominated the opening stages of the first period and was

rewarded early as it scored the first three goals of the

contest.

Adam Mair got the Sabres on the board at 6:40, deflecting

Rivet's slap shot from the right point past Nabokov and just

inside the right goalpost.

With Sharks defenseman Rob Blake in the penalty box for holding,

the Sabres doubled their advantage when blue-liner Jaroslav

Spacek unleashed a one-timer from the top of the slot that

sneaked between the pads of Nabokov at 8:53.

Roy upped the advantage to 3-0 during a power play with 5:39

left in the period. Drew Stafford collected a loose puck at

center ice before gaining the offensive zone and leaving it for

Roy, who beat Nabokov high to the blocker side with a wrist shot

from the right faceoff circle.

"Our power play did a good job," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

"We created some traffic and did some good things.

Marleau scored with the man advantage 1:43 left in the opening

session to draw the Sharks within two, but the Sabres regained

their three-goal bulge when Ales Kotalik tallied while on the

power play at 8:27 of the second.

However, the Sharks started to find their rhythm as Marleau cut

the deficit to 4-2 at 9:39 and All-Star defenseman Dan Boyle

made it a one-goal game with 52 seconds left in the middle

period.

"We showed two colors," Boyle said. "The first period, we were

an awful hockey team. In the second and most of the third, we

showed that when we play the way we can, we're a hard team to

play against."

Devin Setoguchi knotted the contest at 6:09 of the third, and

Joe Pavelski gave San Jose its first lead of the game with a

wrister from the right circle that beat Miller high to the glove

side midway through the session.

"We'll probably leave here remembering the comeback, but that's

not the part of the game we should be focusing on," McLellan

said. "We haven't scored first in a lot of games here now, and

it's a concern."

Each team registered 35 shots on goal.

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