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Buffalo 8, Los Angeles 3

2/14/2004

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Henrik Tallinder knew his goal was
important.

Little did the Buffalo defenseman realize it would be the first
of a seven-goal outburst that sparked the Sabres to an 8-3 victory
over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.

"After that goal we just kept on jumping, we kept on scoring,"
Tallinder said. "You could feel it just turning around."

Maxim Afinogenov scored twice while Ales Kotalik and Daniel
Briere had a goal an assist each as the Sabres overcame a 3-1
deficit by scoring seven times in the final 24 minutes.

Rory Fitzpatrick had the go-ahead goal, and Chris Drury and
Jochen Hecht also scored in Buffalo's best offensive outing since
an 8-0 win over Atlanta on Nov. 8, 2001. The Sabres also won for
the sixth time in seven games and improved to 9-2-2 in their last
13 home games.

For all the scoring, the Sabres credited Tallinder with
providing the spark. His goal came after Buffalo endured a terrible
start to the second period, allowing two Kings' goals, and failing
to generate a shot on net for the first 12 minutes.

Things turned around remarkably when Tallinder's weak shot from
the left circle appeared to deflect in off Kings defenseman Tomas
Zizka, cutting Los Angeles' lead to 3-2 with 4:01 left in the
second period.

Drury tied it with a breakaway goal less than two minutes later
and then Fitzpatrick scored into an untended net, with goaltender
Roman Cechmanek well out of position, to put the Sabres ahead for
good with 70 seconds left in the frame.

"Chris Drury on the breakaway and Henrik Tallinder, those were
the goals that really swung the momentum," Fitzpatrick said. "We
were able to feed off those and keep it going in the third."

The Kings didn't appear to know what happened.

"For whatever reason, we stopped playing," said Ian
Laperriere, who scored once for the Kings. "I can't ever recall a
game like that."

Jozef Stumpel and Scott Barney each added a goal and assist for
the Kings, who entered the game 4-0-4-2 in their last 10 road
games. The eight goals against were the most Los Angeles has
allowed since an 8-4 loss to Chicago on Dec. 18, 1999.

The Kings, in seventh place in the West, gave ground to
eighth-place Nashville, which inched to within a point of Los
Angeles following a 5-2 win over Washington.

The Sabres are playing strong, but can't seem to make up any
ground in the East, where they are in ninth place. Buffalo remained
seven points back of the eighth-place New York Islanders, who beat
Phoenix, in the race for the conference's final playoff berth.

The Sabres appear unfazed, playing with confidence, evident in
how they continued building on their lead in the third period,
starting with Briere's power-play goal 34 seconds in that made it
5-3.

"There was no way they were coming back," Briere said. "We
had worked too hard to score those three goals. The confidence was
on our side. We had the momentum."

Briere's goal chased Cechmanek, who allowed five goals on 22
shots. It was the second time in four starts that he's been pulled.
He was yanked after giving up three goals in the first 22 minutes
of a 4-4 tie at Calgary on Feb. 3.

Backup Cristobal Huet gave up three goals on 14 shots. That
included a pair to Afinogenov, who scored both his goals in a 1:26
span, to cap the Sabres surge with seven left.

Referee Ian Walsh was forced to leave the game with 2:35 left in
the second period when he was struck in the right side of the head
by Buffalo's Taylor Pyatt's high clearing attempt. He returned for
the third.

Game notes
Rob Ray made his final appearance of the season on the
Sabres TV broadcast, Friday, after signing a contract to join the
Ottawa Senators for the rest of the season. Ray, the Sabres'
all-time penalty minutes leader, had been out of hockey since
finishing last season with Ottawa. ... Barney hurt his shoulder and
did not return for the Kings in the third period.