After an 0-5-1 start on the road, the Buffalo Sabres just wanted a victory. Getting it in Dallas against the team they lost to in the Stanley Cup finals only made it sweeter although they had to fight--literally--for the win.
Jason Woolley and Dixon Ward capitalized on Dallas defensive blunders to score their first goals of the season, sending the Sabres past the struggling Stars 3-1 last night in their lone meeting this season.
Despite the black Stanley Cup champions flag looming high above the Sabres' blue line, Buffalo overcame a 1-0 deficit for the first time in seven tries and ended a four-game road losing streak. Dallas sank into its first three-game losing streak since April 1998.
"Playing well against them in the playoffs gave us confidence," said Sabres captain Michael Peca, who had two assists. "That carried over to tonight. Revenge has nothing to do with it. We just needed a win on the road against anybody."
Dallas's frustration boiled over soon after when Buffalo goalie Martin Biron made a save and jabbed his glove at Stars forward Jamie Langenbrunner. Langenbrunner countered with a punch into Biron's facemask and bodies started flying.
Two Sabres took down Langenbrunner from behind and a pileup followed. Langenbrunner, who received a double minor for roughing, skated away with blood on his right cheekbone. Biron and Buffalo defenseman Alexei Zhitnik also were penalized for roughing.
FLAMES 5, PREDATORS 4: Tommy Albelin capped a wild comeback by scoring with four seconds left in overtime to give Calgary its first home victory this season. Calgary's Phil Housley tied it by scoring two goals 39 seconds apart in the final two minutes of regulation.
KINGS 1, RED WINGS 1: Steve Yzerman and Ziggy Palffy traded goals as visiting Los Angeles saw the end of its five-game winning streak. Yzerman scored for Detroit on a power play in the first period. Palffy scored with just six seconds remaining in the second period.
RANGERS 3, ISLANDERS 3: Defenseman Zdeno Chara scored his first goal of the season with 3 minutes 29 seconds left in regulation as the visiting Islanders gained their first point in three games. The Islanders' Wade Flaherty made 33 saves to give his team its first point against the Rangers in eight games (0-7-1). The Islanders last beat their rivals on April 4, 1998, 3-0.
MAPLE LEAFS 6, HURRICANES 0: In Raleigh, N.C., Mike Johnson scored goals 19 seconds apart and Mats Sundin returned from a nine-game absence to add the 300th of his career as Toronto won its fifth straight. Curtis Joseph tied John Vanbiesbrouck of Philadelphia for the NHL lead with his third shutout and 25th of his career.
THRASHERS 4, LIGHTNING 1: Kevin Dean scored the first shorthanded goal in Thrashers history and goaltender Damian Rhodes turned away 25 shots in Atlanta.
DEVILS 3, CANADIENS 2: Scott Stevens scored on a slap shot with 7:33 to play and New Jersey rallied from a two-goal deficit. Petr Sykora also scored in the third period as the Devils won their fifth straight at home and extended the Canadiens' winless streak to six (0-5-1).
AVALANCHE 5, BLUES 0: Marc Denis stopped 37 shots for his first career shutout and Milan Hejduk had two goals and an assist as Colorado, at home, ended a three-game losing streak.
SHARKS 6, COYOTES 3: Vincent Damphousse scored two goals, including the game-winner, as San Jose extended its unbeaten streak to four games and beat visiting Phoenix for the fourth straight time.
MIGHTY DUCKS 3, FLYERS 3: In Anaheim, Calif., John LeClair scored twice and Eric Lindros returned to Philadelphia's lineup and added three assists.
OILERS 2, PANTHERS 2: Rem Murray scored twice as host Edmonton earned a tie to go unbeaten in its last three games.