Final

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 22nd
Rangers1Final
Sabres3
Game 2: Tuesday, November 22nd
Rangers3Final
SO
Sabres2
Game 3: Tuesday, January 24th
Sabres2Final
Rangers1
Game 4: Monday, March 27th
Sabres4Final
SO
Rangers5

Rangers 1

(4-3-3, 11 pts)

Sabres 3

(6-2-0, 12 pts)

7:30 PM ET, October 22, 2005

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 T
NYR 1 0 01
BUF 0 2 13

D. Briere (Sabres - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Miller (Sabres - G): Saves: 22, Save Pct.: .957

R. Fitzpatrick (Sabres - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Miller stingy in net as Buffalo gets past Rangers

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick winked when discussing how his pass wound up in the New York Rangers' net.

"We'll keep that a secret," said Fitzpatrick, who was credited with the go-ahead goal in Buffalo's 3-1 win Saturday night.

Set up in the right circle, Fitzpatrick was attempting to pass the puck to J.P. Dumont, who was wide-open in the slot. The puck, however, glanced off the glove of Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis and sneaked in through goalie Henrik Lundqvist's legs.

"I'll take it," Fitzpatrick said. "I think sometimes when the team's working hard and the team's going good, you get the bounces."

Daniel Briere and Ales Kotalik scored power-play goals and Ryan Miller stopped 22 shots to win his sixth game. Miller is one victory short of becoming the first rookie goalie to win seven in the month of October since Ed Belfour in 1990.

Michael Nylander scored for the Rangers, winless in their last three (0-2-1).

Teppo Numminen had two assists for Buffalo, which improved to 4-0 at home -- the team's best home start since opening the 1984-85 season with five straight victories. Buffalo's 6-2-0 start is the team's best since it won eight straight to open the 1975-76 season.

How good are the Sabres going? Even their miscues are going in.

Besides Fitzpatrick, Briere's goal also came on a bit of a mistake. Breaking to the net, the puck rolled off his stick, and yet he still scored when his weak backhander dribbled in through Lundqvist's legs.

"Right now the puck is bouncing for me," said Briere, whose team-leading seventh goal tied the game 44 seconds into the second period. "I didn't expect to score. But you go through stretches where you get the lucky bounces. ... So I might as well enjoy it as it goes."

The game was close until Kotalik sealed it, one-timing a shot from the left point with less than 4 minutes left.

"We beat ourselves," Rangers coach Tom Renney said, unhappy his team gave up eight power-play chances. "We got in trouble with some very silly penalties from people who you'd think wouldn't."

Renney was also unhappy when officials disallowed what appeared to be the game-tying goal with 8:10 remaining. Jason Ward's shot from the side of the net deflected off the leg of Sabres' defenseman Toni Lydman and into Miller's pads. Rangers players celebrated as if they had scored, but referee Don Van Massenhoven ruled that he had whistled the play dead before the puck crossed the goal line.

"Looking at the video and listening to the audio, I'd have to say it's a goal, but it's not for me to judge," Renney said.

Miller said he clearly heard the whistle before the puck went in.

Miller's best save came late in the second period during a scramble in front. The puck rolled to a wide-open Ville Nieminen, who was foiled when Miller threw his stick arm across to knock down the shot.

Lundqvist, who stopped 28 shots, was also sharp in keeping New York in the game.

His best save came midway through the second period when he got across to somehow get a glove on Numminen's redirection of Briere's pass through the crease.

Game notes


Rangers RW Jaromir Jagr set up Nylander's goal, extending his point streak to seven games (eight goals, three assists). ... The Rangers went 0-of-5 in power-play chances, and failed to register a shot during a 47-second two-man advantage late in the game. New York had previously scored a power-play goal in each of its first nine games. ... Briere extended his goal streak to four games, a stretch in which he's scored five goals.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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