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Hasek Gets 1st Win For Sabres

It wasn't vintage Dominik Hasek, but in a season of drought the Buffalo Sabres will take anything with a `W' on the label.

Hasek recorded his first win and Buffalo got its second victory when defenseman James Patrick scored the game-winner with 5:13 to play for a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.

"I should win the game when we score four goals," said Hasek, who was booed after allowing three straight goals in a span of 3:28 in the second period as Tampa Bay went up 3-2. Hasek allowed three goals on 18 shots in the game.

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  • "He's one of the greatest goalies in the game," said Tampa Bay's Chris Gratton. "We had a lot of chances, but he made some big saves."

    Curtis Brown tied it for Buffalo late in the period and Patrick got the game-winner on an unassisted goal.

    Hasek had not won since defeating the Dallas Stars in the fifth game of the Stanley Cup finals last year. "He was hungry tonight," defenseman Jason Woolley said.

    Hasek is hungry still. "I'm glad we won but I don't have a very good feeling after a game like this," said Hasek (1-4-1), who has given up 22 goals but only one in six third periods of play this season. "We played a very average team."

    Patrick backhanded the puck over Dan Cloutier's shoulder for the victory, only Buffalo's second of the season.

    "I shot it as quick as possible," Patrick said.

    Michal Grosek and Michael Peca also scored for Buffalo (2-6-2). Gratton scored his 100th career goal and had two assists, and Stan Drulia and Vincent Lecavalier also scored for Tampa Bay (2-5-1).

    Hasek (1-4-1) still hasn't returned to the form that allowed him to capture his fifth Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie in the last six years.

    But he's getting there. "Dom was more like Dom tonight," Sabres defenseman Jason Woolley said. "He was very vocal."

    The Lightning approached Hasek as the same old MVP goalie they have come to know and dread. "We know how good a goalie he is," said Tampa Bay coach Steve Ludzik.

    The Sabres outshot the Lightning 12-4 in the first period and went up 2-0. Grosek scored first at 3:39, taking a pass from Peca behind the net and knocking it past Cloutier.

    Grosek hit the post a few minutes later, and Cloutier robbed Wayne Primeau in front.

    Cloutier couldn't stop Peca with 4.9 seconds in the period. Peca knocked in a rebound of a shot by Geoff Sanderson that Cloutier left sitting in the crease.

    "We have to start getting a lead in the first period," said Gratton. "As the year goes on it will get tougher to come back."

    Tampa Bay's burst of goals began with Gratton's unassisted tally at 2:46 of the second. Gratton picked up a loose puck and slapped it past Hasek.

    Gratton gloved a clearing attempt by Alexei Zhitnik and Drulia went in and flipped the puck over the prone Hasek's glove at 5:08.

    Gratton then set up the go-ahead goal with a pass to Lecavalier for an easy tap-in on the power play.

    It was the quickest three goals Hasek had allowed since he gave up three in a span of 2:06 early in the third period of a 6-2 loss at Washington on Oct. 3, 1997.

    "It was a game we had under control," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "But then for three minutes we played turnover hockey. But we got the start that we needed for Dom."

    Brown scored to tie the game at 3-3 at 6:35 of the second period, on a slap shot from the left circle set up by Grosek.

    Cloutier made 23 saves.

    Hasek and the Sabres withstood a late flurry in front of their net. "All five guys were 5 or 10 feet in front of me even in the crease and they were just trying to stop the puck," Hasek said. "They did their job."

    And his.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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