<
>

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.