Niagara Gazette

Sports

May 30, 2006

Scrappy Sabres send it to Game 7

BUFFALO — Who said defensive hockey is boring?

Buffalo played a sound defensive game with just five defensemen Tuesday, then got an overtime winner from Daniel Briere in edging the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at HSBC Arena.

With the win, Buffalo held off elimination and forced Game 7 in Raleigh on Thursday night.

Cam Ward was sharp in the nets for Carolina throughout regulation, stopping 30 shots, but the first one in overtime got away, as a wrist shot in the high slot by Briere snuck out of his glove at 4:22 of overtime.

After dropping their last two games and being outscored 10-3 since taking a 4-1 edge midway through Game 3, the Sabres came out strong and evened the series with good defensive play and a solid forechecking effort.

“We’re not going to sit there and say we’re done. We kept pushing and somebody had to be a hero again,” Brian Campbell said. “It was probably not going to be the same guy, it seems like it’s always different for this hockey team. It’s just a will to win for this team.”

Buffalo outhit the Hurricanes 36-19 and played with tenacity through the opening 40 minutes. They only had one goal to show for it as J.P. Dumont netted his seventh of the playoffs early in the first.

Dumont’s goal came after some hard work by Briere, who circled out from behind the net. Briere fired a shot on Ward that the goalie stopped, but Dumont knocked the rebound over Ward’s shoulder to give the Sabres the lead.

Buffalo threw 14 shots at Ward in the first, then followed with 10 more in the second, but still needed overtime after Bret Hedican’s goal with less than four minutes remaining in the third period beat Ryan Miller. Matt Cullen and Cory Stillman assisted on the goal.

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