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Satan's OT strike pushes Sabres past Habs

2/19/2003

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Milestones didn't mean much to
Miroslav Satan on Wednesday night. He was just happy to give the Buffalo
Sabres a much-needed victory.

In recording his seventh straight 20-goal season, Satan scored
3:49 into overtime to lift the Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the
Montreal Canadiens.

"The way we approach it right now is just to have fun and win
some games for the fans and for each other,'' Satan said. "And I
think that's what we did today. It's a little brighter moment in
this season.''

The win was Buffalo's NHL-worst 17th of the season and second in
11 games (2-6-0-3). And it marked only the third time this season
that the Sabres have won at least two consecutive home games.

"We've talked about playing for pride and playing for our
fans,'' coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's nice to put back-to-back wins
together at home.''

Vaclav Varada, back after missing 17 games because of a sprained
right knee, also scored as the Sabres overcame a 1-0 deficit.

Jan Bulis scored for the Canadiens, whose offense continues to
sputter. Montreal, coming off Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Florida, has
scored just 11 goals in seven games.

"We realize that we need some more offensive production,''
Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "Defensively, I don't think
we've played bad in the last couple of weeks. But if we can get our
offense going, it's going to make a big difference in our game.''

Satan's goal came after he chased down a loose puck along the
left boards in the neutral zone. With a clear path to the net, he
blasted a shot from the circle and beat goalie Mathieu Garon
through the legs.

The Sabres overcame a 1-0 deficit for only the fifth time this
season.

After Bulis opened the scoring 16 minutes in, Varada tied it
late in the second period during a scramble in front and after
Taylor Pyatt made an aggressive drive to the net.

Pyatt broke up the right wing, charged around defenseman Craig
Rivet and tried to stuff a shot under Garon. Garon made the initial
stop and then foiled Dmitri Kalinin's attempt to poke in the
rebound. The puck squirted into the slot where Varada snapped a
shot over the prone goalie.

While the Sabres celebrated a rare win in what has been a
discouraging season, the Canadiens squandered a chance to make up
ground in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Canadiens entered in ninth place, a point out of playoff
contention with six weeks left in the season.

"At this stage we need as many points as we can get,'' Julien
said. "We needed the two points. One point wasn't good enough.''

Buffalo's Ryan Miller stopped 25 shots, enjoying his best game
after allowing 17 goals in his previous five starts. His best stop
came with 5:35 left in regulation when Richard Zednik batted a
bouncing pass out of the air.

Game notes
Canadiens RW Mariusz Czerkawski was a healthy scratch.
Czerkawski, expected to bolster Montreal's offense when acquired
last June, managed three goals and four points in 16 games since
being recalled from the minors. ... Canadiens D Michael Komisarek,
called up earlier in the day from Hamilton of the AHL, made his NHL
debut, logging just over 16 minutes. ... The Sabres ended a string
of seven straight games in which they allowed at least three goals.