Niagara Gazette

Sports

April 14, 2007

SABRES NOTEBOOK: Isles get winner on power play

BUFFALO — The New York Islanders picked a good time to snap out of a power play slump, scoring the winning goal on Marc-Andre Bergeron’s blast from the point in a 3-2 victory at HSBC Arena on Saturday night.

The Islanders hadn’t scored in their first six power plays of the postseason, but did so soon after a call on winger Maxim Afinogenov. As he backchecked Miroslav Satan in the neutral zone, Afinogenov appeared to have pulled the puck cleanly from Satan, but as he turned up ice, Afinogenov pulled on Satan’s body lightly with his stick.

The call was instantly made and 39 seconds later, Bergeron banged in the deciding goal.

“We’ve got to make sure we stay out of the box,” Jason Pominville said. “We end up giving up one tonight and it ends up being the game winner.”

•••

Whether it was an indictment on Ales Kotalik’s play or a compliment to Drew Stafford, the two changed spots on the second and fourth lines late in the second period.

Kotalik was moved to a line with Tim Connolly and Adam Mair while Stafford saw a steady shift with Dainius Zubrus and Chris Drury.

Stafford said he didn’t know the change was coming. “They don’t really say anything, you’ve just got to be ready,” he said. “I wasn’t really expecting anything, I was focusing on playing with the normal lines.”

Stafford ended up playing more than 12 minutes while Kotalik played 10:02, but the rookie said he’s unsure if the change will hold in Long Island.

“We’ll see what happens. If you want to shake a couple things up, we started getting a couple more chances,” he said. “We were getting the puck to the net a little more, but we’ll see what happens. No matter what happens, I just have to be ready. I want to be in the lineup and help the team out. If they want me to play, I’ll play defense.”

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