OTTAWA - Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres withstood a late Ottawa Senators rally and stayed alive in the Eastern Conference finals.
Miller was remarkable in stopping 15 shots in the third period, and Chris Drury and Derek Roy each had a goal and assist in a 3-2 win over Ottawa in Game 4 on Wednesday night.
The Sabres nearly squandered a three-goal lead but staved off elimination, cutting the Senators' best-of-seven series lead to 3-1 and making Game 5 necessary in Buffalo on Saturday.
It wasn't easy for the Sabres, who ended a three-game skid and won for the third time in eight games.
The Senators put a big scare into the Sabres, rallying for two goals in a 1:46 span, cutting Buffalo's lead to 3-2 with 3:19 left in the second period.
Miller stopped 31 shots - the same number he stopped in a 1-0 loss Monday.
Ottawa enjoyed back-to-back power plays in the third period but failed to get a puck past Miller, despite getting 10 shots on net during a 4:30 stretch. Miller made a key save when he waved his glove and batted down Joe Corvo's snap shot from the slot.
Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden also had a shot from the slot sail just wide of an open left side.
Peter Schaefer and Dean McAmmond scored for the Senators, who had a six-game winning streak snapped and lost for only the second time in seven home games.
Maxim Afinogenov also scored for Buffalo, the President's Trophy winner in the regular season.
One victory short of reaching the Stanley Cup finals for the first time, the Senators appeared ready to rally for the second time this series. They overcame a 2-0 Buffalo lead in a 4-3 double-overtime win in Game 2 on Saturday. Roy set a Sabres playoff record when he scored nine seconds into the game, quickly silencing a crowd that was still cheering the opening faceoff. The goal was set up by a turnover when Andrej Meszaros' clearing pass ticked off Roy's skate, directly to Drury just inside the Ottawa blue line.
Drury immediately fed a pass to Roy who, standing to the right of the net, redirected the puck over Ray Emery.
The goal was the fastest in Sabres playoff history, but was still three seconds shy of the NHL playoff record, set by Los Angeles' Don Kozak on April 17, 1977.
The Sabres scored three goals on their first 10 shots, capped when Drury threaded a snapper from the right circle that sneaked in through Emery. Afinogenov's goal came during a two-man advantage early in the second period, Buffalo's first power-play goal in 19 chances this series, and its third in 33 opportunities over seven games. But back came the Senators. McAmmond's goal came on a broken play after Meszaros' initial shot was blocked, but dribbled into the right circle. That's where McAmmond snapped the puck in the short side. Mike Comrie set up the next goal. His backhand pass ticked off defender Brian Campbell's stick and into the slot, where Schaefer swept it in with 3:19 left in the second. NOTES: Roy's goal ended Buffalo's scoring drought at 85 minutes, 13 seconds, dating to Daniel Briere's overtime-forcing goal in Game 2. ... The goal was the fastest allowed by Ottawa in the playoffs, beating the previous mark of 21 seconds set by Philadelphia's Claude Lapointe on May 3, 2003. It also tied the Senators franchise record when Carolina's Shane Willis scored nine seconds in on Nov. 12, 2000. ... Sabres coach Lindy Ruff switched up his lines again, putting Roy and Tim Connolly with Drury.comments powered by Disqus