<
>

After missing four games, Pyatt returns with three goals

3/29/2003

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- When Taylor Pyatt capped his first career
three-goal game, he was so surprised he didn't know what to do.

''I was sort of in shock,'' Pyatt said. ''I didn't even look for
any hats.''

Pyatt's hat trick led Buffalo to a 4-1 victory over the Montreal
Canadiens on Friday night. When he scored his third goal 12:16 into
the second, the fans were apparently surprised as well -- only one
hat found its way to the ice.

Pyatt, playing after missing four games with a concussion, has
six goals and nine points in his last eight games. Jochen Hecht
scored his fourth goal in the past six games for Buffalo, which won
its third in a row.

''Somebody said after the game he's got to get knocked out
again,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said jokingly.

Pyatt said he's seeing the ice better.

''You get a little bit of confidence and things just sort of
come a lot easier out there,'' Pyatt said. ''The ice just seems to
open up a little bit.''

Martin Biron stopped 27 shots for the Sabres, and Miroslav
Satan, Daniel Briere and Alexei Zhitnik each had two assists.

Yanic Perreault scored his third goal in 33 games for Montreal,
which lost for the fifth time in six games.

Canadiens coach Claude Julien said Montreal has to be
accountable if they want to get better.

''Tonight, we had some guys who probably were trying to do a
little too much to compensate for guys who were not doing enough,
and that makes for a pretty poor effort,'' he said.

Pyatt opened the scoring a minute into the game when he took a
pass from Briere in the slot and fired it over Mathieu Garon's left
shoulder.

Hecht backhanded a shot in the slot past Garon 30 seconds into
the second. The puck trickled to Hecht after Garon made a diving
save on a cross-ice pass from Briere to J.P. Dumont.

''It always takes the wind out of a team, especially in the
first minute of a period,'' Julien said. ''Those are things you
can't do. A lot of it's a reflection of our season.''

Pyatt's second made it 3-0 on the power play 10:43 into the
second when he tipped Zhitnik's shot from the point past a screened
Garon.

Pyatt scored his third when he forced the puck from Craig Rivet
in the Buffalo zone to Satan, who skated down the right wing and
fed Pyatt across the ice on a two-on-one. Pyatt fired it past Garon for
his career-high 13th goal.

Ruff said Pyatt finally capitalized on his opportunities.

''Tonight, the first few chances he got, every one went in,'' he
said. ''And then we tried to get him out on the next couple power
plays to get a fourth. I said, 'Keep shooting -- it's one of those
nights. They'll keep going in.'''

Perreault scored 8:02 into the third when Andreas Dackell's shot
from the point deflected off his skate and past Biron for his 22nd
of the season.

Garon -- playing his first game since March 8 -- finished with 27
saves.

With 8:22 left in the first, Buffalo forward Curtis Brown broke
his ankle blocking a shot but managed to stay in the game. He is
out the rest of the season.

Buffalo planned to call up a forward, possibly Chris Taylor, who
the Sabres sent to Rochester earlier Friday, Ruff said.

Game notes
Friday was Montreal's first game in the United States since
a significant portion of the fans in the Bell Centre booed the U.S.
national anthem last Thursday. Fans in HSBC Arena cheered loudly
after both anthems. ... Sabres forward Ales Kotalik, second among NHL
rookies with 19 goals, missed the game with the flu and did not
leave on a two-game road trip following the game. ... Sabres forward Adam
Mair and defenseman Jay McKee also returned to the lineup. McKee missed 20
games. ... Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder has been cleared to play after
missing six weeks with a high ankle sprain. Buffalo sent defenseman Radoslav
Hecl to Rochester. ... Montreal forward Jason Ward hyperextended his
right elbow Thursday in practice and did not make the trip.