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  •   Hasek, Zhitnik Save Buffalo in Sweep

    Sabres Logo

    By Bill Porter
    Associated Press Writer
    Tuesday, April 27, 1999; 10:07 p.m. EDT

    BUFFALO, N.Y. – Dominik Hasek made 40 saves, Vaclav Varada scored two goals and the seventh-ranked Buffalo Sabres completed a surprising playoff sweep of the No. 2 Ottawa Senators with a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

    Hasek, who recorded a team-record fourth career playoff shutout in Sunday's 3-0 win, had his shutout streak snapped at 144 minutes, 55 seconds on a goal by Jason York at 6:24 of the second period.

    The three goals against Hasek matched the entire number scored against the two-time MVP in the series' first three games. Hasek allowed six goals on 162 shots in the series.

    With less than a minute left, fans tossed brooms on the ice to indicate the sweep. It was the Sabres' fourth of a best-of-7 series and the first time they completed a best-of-7 sweep at home since they ousted Boston in 1993.

    Erik Rasmussen and Alexei Zhitnik also scored for Buffalo. Shawn McEachern and Nelson Emerson scored Ottawa's other games.

    The Sabres once again smothered Ottawa's leading scorer Alexei Yashin, who finished the series with no goals or assists but totaled a team-high five penalties. The Sabres' winning goal, on a slap shot from the blue line by defenseman Zhitnik, came with Yashin in the box for elbowing in the third period.

    Ottawa goaltender Ron Tugnutt, who gave up two goals on 15 shots in the first game of the series and hadn't played since, allowed two goals on 11 shots in the first period and finished with 22 saves.

    The Senators lost in overtime to the Sabres in the seventh game of the 1997 conference quarterfinals when Derek Plante's shot from the blue line tore through Tugnutt's glove, eliminating Ottawa from its first-ever modern-day playoff appearance.

    Buffalo scored twice in the first period and added a goal in the second.

    The Sabres opened the scoring for the fourth straight game in the series with the goal by Rasmussen. Wayne Primeau skated the puck into the Senators' zone unmolested and slapped it on Tugnutt. Varada swatted at the rebound before Rasmussen poked it in at 8:29. It was the first career playoff goal for Rasmussen.

    Varada, assisted by Michael Peca and Dixon Ward, scored his first playoff goal just 1:48 later for a 2-0 lead. Varada cruised the slot and collected a pass off the boards from Peca, and Varada's shot trickled in between Tugnutt's pads at 10:17.

    York's second-period goal made it 2-1. Daniel Alfredsson left the puck at the top of the left circle for York, whose slap shot from the middle of the circle deflected in off Hasek's pad.

    Buffalo went up 3-1 three minutes later on the second goal by Varada, who easily tapped in Ward's pass.

    It was only the second career multi-goal game for Varada, who scored one goal in each of the Sabres' three playoff series last year.

    McEachern's second playoff goal – Ottawa's first even-strength goal of the series – made it 3-2 midway through the second. Zhitnik put the Sabres up 4-2.

    All five regular-season games between the teams went into overtime this season, with the Senators winning 3-2 on Dec. 30 in Buffalo and the other four ending in ties. The Sabres won the second game of the series in double overtime before winning Game 3 easily.

    The Sabres played Game 4 without leading scorer Miroslav Satan, who injured his foot in the second game when he was struck by a shot by Sabres defenseman Richard Smehlik.

    © Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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