Sabres back in series after road win
Updated: Tuesday May 01, 2001 8:47 AM
Jason Woolley's tip-in midway through the third period broke a tie, and the Sabres rediscovered their offense to avoid going down three games, beating the Penguins 4-1 Monday night.
The Sabres trailed 2-0 in the series and 1-0 in the second period until solving rookie goaltender Johan Hedberg twice in the third period. They added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
The Sabres had scored on only 1 of 64 shots before finally coming alive against Hedberg, the former Manitoba Moose goalie who was cheered on by thousands of fans wearing golden foam moose antlers in his honor.
"We did what they did to us," said Doug Gilmour, who assisted on the decisive goal. "When they came into our building, they waited and waited, and when they had some chances they capitalized. We had to be patient, too."
Miroslav Satan carried the puck into the Penguins end, shot and missed, but grabbed his own rebound, allowing Gilmour to steer the puck from behind the net to an open Woolley at the right side of the crease. It was Woolley's first playoff goal since June 8, 1999, during the Stanley Cup finals in Dallas and gave Buffalo its first lead of the series.
"The third game had to come our way. If it doesn't, we're in a lot of trouble and we know that," Woolley said. "I think you have to give our guys credit for not trying to force the envelope. We were able to put aside the thought that losing this game would put us in deep trouble."
Satan prevented any Penguins comeback with a wraparound goal at 13:03 off a rebound after Maxim Afinogenov faked defenseman Darius Kasparaitis off his skates with a drive to the net.
James Patrick added an empty-net goal to make it 4-1.
The Penguins' offense clearly badly missed Jagr, the five-time NHL scoring champion who sat out his second successive game with a shoulder or rotator cuff problem. Pittsburgh also was without Josef Beranek (arm), who effectively replaced Jagr in Game 2.
With the seldom-used Rene Corbet unable to make up Jagr's missing offense on the Mario Lemieux line, the Penguins were held to 20 shots, 12 after the first period.
"Any time you're missing your best player, it's going to hurt," said Lemieux, who was held scoreless. "He'll be back when he's back."
The Penguins hope it will be for Game 4 Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins had been 8-1-3 against Buffalo since 1996 -- with the only victory coming Dec. 2 -- until Monday.
"In Philadelphia [in the first round], we won the two games there and if we are to have a chance in this series, I think we have to do the same thing here," Satan said. "We don't want to go home 3-1."
Pittsburgh had plenty of good scoring chances despite being outshot 9-8 in the first period, clanging three shots off the posts, before taking a 1-0 lead for the third consecutive game.
With Woolley in the box after a slashing penalty well behind the play, Andrew Ference's slap shot from the right point deflected off Kevin Stevens' stick at 5:34 of the second for Stevens' third goal of the postseason.
"We had a chance to bury them early," Stevens said. "But I don't think they stole a game. They jumped on us good. Maybe we could have had four goals in the first period, but they could have had seven in the second."
The Sabres, warned by head coach Lindy Ruff to play with a sense of urgency but not an air of desperation that could result in too much cautious play, finally tied it on Brown's deflection off Ference's leg.
Penguins defenseman Marc Bergevin couldn't clear the puck, and Brown put a hard shot on net from along the edge of the right circle that deflected past Hedberg inside the near post at 13:04.
"They got the bounces that we got the first two games," Hedberg said, referring to a pair of Penguins goals that bounced off Sabres players in a 3-1 victory in Game 2. "Sometimes it's going to go that way."
Notes: With Buffalo D Jay McKee (concussion) out at least a week,
Richard Smehlik returned from an ankle injury. ... Buffalo D Alexei
Zhitnik, playing despite a concussion also sustained in Game 2, led
the Sabres in ice time. ... The Sabres are 0-15 after going down
2-0 in a playoff series. ... Buffalo was 0-for-6 on the power play
and is 1-for-18 in the series. ... Pittsburgh had previously
outscored its opponents 8-3 in the third period. ... The Penguins
have yielded 11 goals in their past three home playoff games. They
are 4-1 on the road but only 2-2 at home.